NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Jack Kliger, the magazine industry veteran and leader, is leaving his post as CEO of Hachette Filipacchi Media U.S., the publisher of titles from Elle to Road & Track, to make room for new blood from France. Alain Lemarchand today was named to take over as CEO, effective Sept. 1. Mr. Kliger has been offered, but has not yet officially accepted, the newly created position of chairman.
The news was a little surprising on several fronts. For one, Mr. Kliger's latest contract extension is believed to run through early 2009. For another, many observers had thought Philippe Guelton, exec VP-chief operating officer since April 2003, was being groomed for the CEO slot. Mr. Kliger is declining to comment for today at least, a Hachette spokeswoman said.
Mr. Lemarchand, on the other hand, is a relative unknown to Hachette's U.S. rank and file. He is currently directeur général delegué for Lagardère Active, a division of France's Lagardère Group that houses Hachette. His press contacts in France did not immediately respond to requests to speak with him today, but he is likely to be charged with continuing to expand Hachette's U.S. presence through acquisitions.
"I have known Alain for nine years from the time he was in the U.S. in 1999," Mr. Kliger said in a message to his staff. "He is a very capable executive and most of his career has been with the Lagardère Group."
Hachette under Kliger
"I have been offered the position of chairman, HFM U.S. to concentrate on developing strategic relationships for the company," Mr. Kliger added. "It has been a pleasure to spend the past nine years here. You are an outstanding team, and I want to thank you for your dedication and the many contributions that you have made.
Mr. Kliger's tenure atop Hachette's U.S. operations has seen the shutdown of Premiere and Elle Girl magazines' print editions, broader budget reductions, but also acquisitions on the digital side such as Jumpstart Media. Last February Mr. Kliger accepted the prestigious Henry Johnson Fisher Award. He was chairman of the Magazine Publishers of America from 2005 to 2007, a position from which he pushed his colleagues to improve magazine accountability so the medium could better compete with rising digital competition.