Michelle Tan, the editor in chief of Seventeen, has been let go after about two years in the job, WWD has learned.
A spokeswoman from Hearst declined to comment but did confirm the departure.
Tan, who joined Hearst in November 2014, came from Time Inc.’s People where she served as special projects editor. At Hearst, Tan reported to Cosmopolitan editor in chief Joanna Coles, who also holds the role of editorial director of Seventeen.
According to sources, Tan was notified that she would no longer be needed at Seventeen while on maternity leave. Under her stewardship, Tan made a push to court the fashion set with more edit pages devoted to emerging designers. She also made a play to highlight diversity in the magazine’s pages, and launch a capsule collection of core basics dubbed “The Edit by Seventeen.”
But Tan had her work cut out for her; producing a magazine whose core reader no longer reads print is no easy feat. The teen media market is also fickle with young consumers jumping from one social media platform to the next.
In the second half of 2015, Seventeen’s total paid and verified circulation was flat over the prior year at about 2 million. Total single-copy sales, however, declined 47.1 percent to 81,831, according to the Alliance for Audited Media. While circulation has held steady since Tan took the reins, the newsstand has been falling fast in recent months. In the last five months of 2016, Seventeen’s newsstand sales averaged 57,760.
While the newsstand has been challenging for all print publications across the industry, Seventeen has had trouble improving on the digital front. From February to July, Seventeen’s Web traffic totaled 3.9 million unique visitors, according to Comscore. In 2015, Seventeen pulled 3.7 million uniques on average. Numbers aside, insiders also noted Tan has had a few managerial bumps, but there has been no official word on why Tan was dismissed.
Hearst has not announced a replacement for Tan, but it is assumed that the magazine’s executive editor Joey Bartolomeo will continue to play a leading role in the glossy’s production.