Employees of the fashion publication found out about her departure on Thursday morning, while luxury brands were notified via e-mail, which said her successor will be promoted soon from within the group, sources told WWD. The reason behind her abrupt exit was not clear.
Her departure would be another senior change after Hearst appointed Daisy Wang as ceo of the Greater China region in February. Wang was previously in charge of Hearst’s Taiwan region business.
Elle was the first international fashion magazine to enter the Chinese market in 1988. Under Xiao’s leadership, Elle China achieved success, topping advertising sales for 11 consecutive years in China, according to data compiled by Admango. Elle China sold 1,506 pages of ads in 2018, while Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue China had 1,279 and 1,086 pages of ads respectively.
The monthly publication still holds the record of selling 50 million renminbi, or $7.17 million at current exchange, of advertising in a single issue in 2011.
The brand expanded to beyond a single title to include several spin-off publications: SuperElle, a publication catering to China’s fashion-savvy younger generation; Elle Men; Elle Men Fresh, also a younger offering, and Elle Decoration.
Xiao started her career in fashion publishing at Hung Huang’s iLook magazine and became publisher and editor in chief of Elle China in 2006. She was promoted to ceo as well of the Elle umbrella in 2017.
She is also a leading figure and speaker on female empowerment in China. She graduated from China-Europe International Business School with an EMBA degree in her early 40s and published her first book, titled “Elegance,” in 2012, in which openly shared information about her career, family and relationships.
Xiao and Hearst China could not be reached for comment at press time.