SURPRISE, SURPRISE: Another week, more exits at LTB Media. In the latest defection to hit the company, Culture and Travel’s editor in chief, Michael Boodro, is headed to Martha Stewart Living, where he’ll become the editor of the magazine underneath editorial director Margaret Roach. “I’m leaving because it’s an extraordinary opportunity,” he said Monday. “It’s one of the most beautiful magazines on paper today and it covers subjects I’ve been interested in my entire career.”
But privately, some say Boodro’s decision to leave LTB was also brought on by his growing dissatisfaction with boss Louise MacBain, whose managerial skills are leaving staffers (what few remain) demoralized. Just before Christmas, a wave of departures hit the company. According to three sources, the situation got so bad that the release of Culture & Travel’s next issue had to be postponed three weeks to give the publishing side more time to sell ad pages.
“Sales were really slow because of management issues,” explained one current employee. “Louise thinks she knows how to run a magazine company. We’ll see.”
Boodro didn’t give MacBain much advance notice, either: He told her he was leaving just hours before Omnimedia drafted the press release about his hire. “She was a little surprised,” admitted Boodro, who has been replaced by the magazine’s senior editor, Peter Terzian.
According to sources, three junior staffers on the business side also left in the last two weeks.
Reached at her New York office, MacBain said the changes were just business as usual. “This is normal. We’ve just consolidated 11 companies in New York.” She denied there was a problem with departures or morale. — Jacob Bernstein
BALANCED PORTFOLIO: David Carey was able to distract Condé Nast publishers from the warm rays of Florida and the guessing game of who will be the company’s publisher of the year (which will be revealed at dinner tonight) with one bit of news at the annual publishers’ meeting. (WWD is owned by Condé Nast.) The president of the Condé Nast Business Media Group said Portfolio would close with more than 150 ad pages, 51 percent of them from business-to-business clients. Of those B2B advertisers, 40 percent, or about 30 pages, are new to Condé Nast. By comparison, Domino, which was launched in April 2005, carried 106 ad pages in its first issue, and Men’s Vogue carried 164 ad pages in its premier fall 2005 issue. Portfolio hits newsstands April 24, carrying a $4.99 cover price. The second issue won’t come out until August. — Stephanie D. Smith
ALMOST DONE: It looks like Mary Berner is just days away from finally taking over as president and chief executive officer of Reader’s Digest Association. Although her appointment at RDA was announced in December, it hinges on the merger with private equity firm Ripplewood Holdings. Berner is set to replace incumbent ceo Eric Schrier, who has been on the job for only a little more than a year. As reported, Berner’s brother, Robert Berner 3rd, is managing director at Ripplewood.
The transaction is expected to close by the end of February. A special meeting of RDA’s stockholders will take place on Friday to consider the adoption of the merger agreement with Ripplewood. According to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, all outstanding common shares of RDA will go for $17 a share, in cash, without interest. The price barely represents a premium on Monday’s closing price of $16.92. — Amy Wicks
NEW COAT OF PAINT: House & Garden is redecorating for the first time in six years. The March issue will feature a new logo; the font has gone from the sans serif that is still used on the cover to a “classic, romantic” serif, rendered larger on the page, said a spokeswoman. “We’re always looking at the magazine as a living and breathing thing,” she said. Elsewhere in the issue, Allure editor in chief Linda Wells‘ Fifth Avenue apartment is featured in her fellow Condé Nast title. Photographed with her son, Webster, on “Italian Louis XV-style” furniture and an array of sports equipment, Wells is described by her decorator as “an intensely visual, creative person, but she’s also practical. This apartment is about family, not fashion.” A two-page spread on Wells’ favored items singles out a blue Hermès leather notebook “for fashion shows,” her Tumi suitcase and several shout-outs to Derek Lam accessories.
In other House & Garden news, design editor Mayer Rus is heading to Los Angeles in a move a spokeswoman described as “heading up House & Garden’s new L.A. bureau” alongside West Coast editor Paul Fortune. Rus will continue to write his column for the magazine; the hunt is on for a successor in New York. Garden editor Stephen Orr has left the magazine and signed on with fellow House & Garden gardening department alum Deborah Needleman‘s Domino as a contributing editor. — Irin Carmon
COCKTAIL PUSHER: Bauer Publishing’s new weekly women’s title, Cocktail, was unveiled last week without a publisher. Group publisher Greg Slattery will oversee ad sales for the title until he hires a day-to-day publisher. Slattery will continue as publisher of Bauer’s Women’s Group, which includes First for Women and Woman’s World, in addition to his new duties. Cocktail will be launched Sept. 21. — S.D.S.