Longtime magazine publishing executive Sally Preston has been named North America president of Orion Capital, effective Sept. 3.
She succeeds Tony Harridine, who has moved back to Australia, the company said.
Ms. Preston was most recently VP-publisher at Time Inc.'s Real Simple magazine, and previously held group publisher and publisher posts at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Rodale, Hearst and Meredith.
Orion Capital, a division of IPG Mediabrands' Orion Holdings, provides money to media owners for expenses ranging from programming to equipment, then recoups its investment in the form of credits for ad inventory that Mediabrands agencies' clients can use. It often works in partnership with sibling media agencies including Universal McCann, Initiative and BPN.
As North America president, Ms. Preston will oversee 130 people across the U.S., Canada and Mexico and will report to Worldwide Chief Media Officer Patty Norway. Ms. Preston said she plans to concentrate on finding new opportunities for brands and creating dialog from the "buy side" with ad sellers, a conversation she said the industry needs. Ms. Preston will also try to expand Orion's existing operations in Canada and Mexico.
Ms. Preston acknowledged that Orion works in a different part of the business than she has, but said her experience will serve her nonetheless. "I spent the better part of my career in big media companies dealing with a whole variety of clients," she said.
Brian McMahon, president at Orion Holdings, said Ms. Preston has a breadth of media understanding, in terms of running a business and leadership, that made her a good fit. "One of the things we look for is diversity of talent," he said.
Ms. Preston hopes she'll be able to tap the relationships she has forged throughout her publishing career. "If I have the opportunity to, I absolutely will," she said. "I'm hoping to work it to my advantage. I'd love to have a reason to work with my friends."