Tom Harty has been elected president and chief operating officer of Meredith Corp., a new post. He had been National Media Group president.

In his new role, Harty, 53, will oversee Meredith’s National and Local Media Groups. He will continue to report to Meredith chairman and chief executive officer Steve Lacy, enabling Lacy, 62, to focus more on long-term strategy, business expansion and acquisitions.

Harty’s appointment is part of Meredith’s succession planning process. His promotion puts him in line to potentially succeed Lacy, when he retires as ceo at the mandatory retirement age of 65, but the board will ultimately make that decision. Lacy held the post of president and chief operating officer from 2004-06 before becoming ceo.

Harty will relocate to corporate headquarters in Des Moines.

The board also elected Jon Werther, 47, to succeed Harty as National Media Group president. Werther is presently president of Meredith Digital. He also has oversight of the Martha Stewart Living media brands and Better Homes and Gardens.

“During his tenure at Meredith, Tom has led initiatives to strengthen our media brands and grow diversified revenue sources such as digital, brand licensing and marketing services,” said Lacy. “Working together with Local Media Group president Paul Karpowicz and Jon Werther, I’m confident Tom can continue to grow Meredith’s position as one of America’s leading media and marketing companies.”

Under Harty’s leadership, Meredith has consistently increased its share of advertising revenues against its competitive set. He created the Meredith Sales Guarantee, which proves that advertising on Meredith’s media platforms directly leads to an increase of product sales at retail. He has also led an expansion of Meredith’s digital initiatives such as the acquisition of Allrecipes.com.

Harty joined Meredith in 2004 as vice president of its Magazine Group and later served as chief revenue officer and president of Consumer Magazines. He was named National Media Group president in 2010.

Werther joined Meredith in 2012 as chief strategy officer and was promoted to president of Meredith Digital in 2013.

Meredith’s National Media Group includes such brands as Better Homes and Gardens, Allrecipes, Parents and Shape, while its Local Media Group includes 17 owned or operated TV stations.