Reader's Digest Sheds Group Publisher

Laura McEwen Leaving After Three Years

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Reader's Digest Association told employees today that its VP-publishing director since June 2003, Laura McEwen, is leaving the company. Executives described the mood as upbeat and the split as amicable, but none were able to explain the origin of today's departure.
During Laura McEwen's tenure as VP-publishing director, ad pages at 'Reader's Digest' grew 4.1% in 2005 and rose 14.3% during the first quarter of this year.
During Laura McEwen's tenure as VP-publishing director, ad pages at 'Reader's Digest' grew 4.1% in 2005 and rose 14.3% during the first quarter of this year.

Ad pages
Ms. McEwen, after all, leaves the magazines of Reader's Digest Association in better shape than she found them. Ad pages at the flagship title grew 4.1% last year and rose 14.3% during the first quarter, according to the Publishers Information Bureau. Ms. McEwen also played a big role in the launch last year of Every Day With Rachael Ray, a title about which the company is very enthusiastic.

More visibility for Bonnie Bachar
But her departure also suggests a more visible role ahead for Bonnie K. Bachar, Reader's Digest Association's president of U.S. magazines. Until her promotion last August, Ms. Bachar had been general manager of the North American publishing group, where among other things she oversaw development of Every Day.

"Laura worked diligently on behalf of Reader's Digest over the past three years," Ms. Bachar said in a memo to employees announcing Ms. McEwen's departure. "We are grateful for her dedication to the business and successes along the way."

Replacement search
Lauren Jay, associate publisher for marketing, and publishers Ben Madden of Reader's Digest and Chris Guilfoyle of Every Day will report to Ms. Bachar, at least until a new group publisher is hired; the company is starting its search for someone to fill that position.

Ms. McEwen, who was publisher at YM magazine before joining Reader's Digest Association, did not respond to messages and e-mails seeking comment.
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