Dan Wakeford

The number two will be the new number one at People.

A day after Jess Cagle, the magazine’s editor in chief, said he would be leaving his position when his contract expires on March 31, People’s parent, Meredith Corp., elevated Dan Wakeford to the top slot.

Wakeford, who has been with the magazine since 2015, served most recently as deputy editor. He will assume his new position on April 1.

“An experienced and trusted journalist with entertainment and creative storytelling expertise, Dan is a forward-thinking executive and a brand builder with a clear vision for People today and in the future,” said Bruce Gersh, president of People. “Dan’s impeccable track record of shaping the editorial direction and content strategy for some of the largest brands makes him the ideal choice to lead Meredith’s most profitable brand.”

In an internal memo to the staff, Gersh said Wakeford will report to him as will Entertainment Weekly’s editor in chief Harry Goldblatt and People en Español’s editor in chief Armando Correa.

People, which was among the plums for Meredith when it purchased Time Inc. last year, reaches an audience of 100 million including one in two American women. In addition to its weekly magazine, it also produces multiple special issues and books, video and hundreds of pieces of digital content every week, including three People Magazine Investigates series on Discovery ID, two four-hour specials for ABC, a live daily web series and a People OTT network.

“I’m honored to lead the most trusted entertainment brand in the world and continue the tradition of smart and exciting storytelling. I can’t wait to build on this legendary brand’s success and share People with audiences everywhere,” said Wakeford.

Since joining People as deputy editor four years ago, Wakeford has been responsible for all human interest, service and royals content and he has led breaking news coverage from school shootings to celebrity weddings across multiple platforms. He has also split his time between editing the magazine, overseeing 11 of People’s digital verticals and developing spin-off projects.

Prior to joining People, Wakeford was editor in chief of Life & Style at In Touch magazine. He immigrated from the United Kingdom in 2002 to develop the genre of celebrity weeklies in America. Prior to this, Wakeford was a top editor of the team that created Heat, a London magazine that defined pop culture in the early Aughts in Europe.

In addition to People, Meredith, the number-one magazine operator in the U.S., publishes Better Homes & Gardens, Real Simple, Shape and Martha Stewart Living.

Cagle had been editor in chief for five years and was with Time Inc. for 32 years.