Hearst didn’t waste time in finding a replacement for Joanna Coles as chief content officer.
Kate Lewis has been named her successor, a selection made by chief executive officer Steven Swartz and Troy Young, who was recently named president of Hearst Magazines, the suspected impetus behind Coles’ abrupt departure, and to whom Lewis will now report.
“With her strong background in both [the print and digital] worlds, Kate is ideally suited to help our editors and producers take their products to the next level of excellence by finding new ways to collaborate,” Swartz said.
Lewis came to Hearst in 2014 after a stint at Say Media, a tech-driven and digital-media-focused advertising firm where Young was president for two years. Before that, she spent more than a decade at Hearst rival Condé Nast. Lewis started as an editorial assistant to Vanity Fair’s former longtime editor Graydon Carter and eventually became managing editor of defunct Mademoiselle magazine, before going on to serve in the same role at Self magazine for 10 years, which subsequently ceased to be a print publication. She then became executive director of human resources for Condé.
Young added that Lewis, in her current role of senior vice president, editorial director at Hearst, has built out an editorial team that’s creating “service journalism in words, images and video.” He said she’s “played an integral role in growing our digital organization into the fast-moving, profitable business it is today.”
Hearst pointed out in a statement that monthly unique views across Hearst’s digital media portfolio have tripled under Lewis’ leadership, a time that’s included her oversight of social media content and strategy for the portfolio, an audience that Hearst said has grown to 220 million in total, along with editorial video and branded content.
Although only at Hearst for four years, Lewis succeeding Coles counts as her third promotion, so far, and it’s certainly her biggest role to date.
As chief content officer — a position with broader scope created in 2016 for Coles after Ellen Levine retired as Hearst’s editorial director — Lewis will direct print and digital content strategy across the company’s magazine titles, oversee all U.S. publications’ editors in chief and digital directors and connect with international editions “to maximize global content opportunities,” according to Hearst.
The company added that Lewis will also be working with product and technology and consumer marketing development teams, along with its branded content unit.
“Kate’s responsibilities will be broader, but her core mission is the same: making content and products that engage and entertain readers, with a focus on excellence in storytelling and service,” Young said. “She’s an insightful leader with a profound understanding of our brands and our audiences and she will move our editorial teams toward greater collaboration across platforms.”
To that point, Lewis noted Hearst’s larger-than-ever combined print, digital and social audience, saying the company needs to “create content that caters to both the tremendous scale and the personal passions of our consumers.”
“This role is an extraordinary opportunity for me to work holistically with our talented editorial teams on these powerful brands,” Lewis added. “I am excited to continue the growth of our existing titles, build new brands and find new audiences together.”
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