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POACHING GOOD EGGS: Nowhere does the old adage “good help is hard to find” apply more than in the media world, where underlings go on to pen tell-all romans à clef, and seasoned editors frequently decamp to competing titles. But the hardest position to keep filled seems to be the role of executive assistant.

The most interesting game of musical assistants of late? Ann Armstrong, the former personal assistant to Martha Stewart, who had to testify at her boss’ trial following Stewart’s sale of her ImClone stock, was just hired by Stephen Drucker, the new editor in chief of House Beautiful. Armstrong starts on Monday.

And who is filling her old post at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia these days? That would be Sharon McCauley, who until a few months ago assisted Steve Florio at Condé Nast. (Stewart evidently became better acquainted with McCauley while working on Florio’s lecture series at New York University’s Stern School of Business this fall — Stewart gave the keynote address.)

Meanwhile, Drucker, who created the “Sunday Styles” section at The New York Times more than a decade ago before becoming an editor in chief at MSLO, has poached two other employees from his old stomping grounds. Jonathan Chernes, most recently director of retail operations at MSLO, joins House Beautiful as managing editor on Dec. 5. And Barbara de Wilde, the former design director of MSLO, starts a week later as House Beautiful’s new design director.

Drucker also has hired Barbara King, founding editor of the “Home” section of the Los Angeles Times, as executive editor. She starts on Dec. 19. House Beautiful’s first full issue under Drucker’s new team will be March.
— Sara James

HEARST’S HEART SLEEVES: The Hearst Corp. continues its fund-raising drive for the United Way this weekend with an online auction of designer goods donated by company editors and executives.

Harper’s Bazaar’s Glenda Bailey donated a Donna Karan ivory coat and a black Fendi Spy bag; there’s a Dolce & Gabbana dress from Seventeen’s Atoosa Rubenstein; an Oscar de la Renta evening bag from Town & Country’s Pamela Fiori, and a Chanel Beach Bag from Redbook’s Stacy Morrison. Good Housekeeping’s Ellen Levine gave a Versace suit, and Esquire’s David Granger donated a Zegna tuxedo. All of the items were collected by Regina Russell of Celebrity Closet Raiders and will go up on on Saturday. So far this year, Hearst has raised $1.3 million for the United Way.

This story first appeared in the December 2, 2005 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

It’s a good way to trim down all that swag they’d otherwise have to lug home. “Wherever we go, we’re given such wonderful things. It’s a bit like Hollywood,” said Lesley Jane Seymour, editor in chief of Marie Claire, who usually gives castoffs to friends or saves them for her 10-year-old daughter. She donated a Kate Spade clutch. “There’s so much gifting that comes to us, it’s nice to be able to give something back during the holidays.”
— S.J.

UPPER LIPMAN HIRES: Joanne Lipman has made her first two hires for the business magazine in development at Condé Nast (which, like WWD, is part of Condé Nast Publications). One is internal. Blaise Zerega will be moving over from Wired to be managing editor of the new magazine. Lipman has also tapped the first of her two deputy editors: Jim Impoco, Sunday business editor of The New York Times. Prior to joining the Times, he was an assistant managing editor at Fortune.
— S.J.

METROSEXUAL MIX-UP: Was there a special celebrity guest at S.I. Newhouse Jr.‘s annual Condé Nast Christmas lunch Wednesday? In the New York Post’s coverage of the event, mixed in among the headshots of Anna Wintour, David Remnick, Cindi Leive and other Condé editors was actor Chris Klein, star of “Election” and “American Pie” and ex-fiancé of Katie Holmes. Next to Klein’s photo was the name of Dan Peres, editor in chief of Details. Peres is also tall and dark-haired, and was until recently engaged to his own actress, Sarah Wynter (they’re now married). And if that weren’t enough to confuse the photo editors at the Post, Peres and Klein co-hosted a party in September at Saks Fifth Avenue, where they posed together for photographers on the red carpet. Said Peres, “Better Chris Klein than Chris Farley, no?”
— Jeff Bercovici

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