"John's been a great advisor and I hope to find a way to keep working together in the future," said AMI Chairman-CEO David J. Pecker, who has worked with Mr. Hughes in different capacities and companies since 1994. "I wish him the best." Mr. Hughes did not return a message left seeking comment.
Recent additions to company
Insiders speculated that Mr. Hughes had been unhappy since the January hire of John J. Miller, a longtime associate of Mr. Pecker, as president-chief operating officer, a post that Mr. Hughes might have liked for himself. But he may have also decided that relatively recent additions like Mr. Miller and Chief Financial Officer Carlos A. Abaunza meant that the company and Mr. Pecker were on solid enough ground that he could resign without leaving unfinished business.
Back in 2003, when American Media was growing rapidly, instead of selling and closing titles as it has this year, Mr. Hughes led its efforts to get into new businesses like a TV show based on Star. In 2001, the Palm Beach Post quoted him calling the company's investment in "Bat Boy: The Musical," based on a creature that appeared in American Media's Weekly World News, a "wonderful opportunity" for brand expansion and cross-marketing.
Now Mr. Hughes joins a list of recent departures that includes Senior VP Larry Bornstein, who resigned in May rather than relocate to New York from Boca Raton, Fla.; Mark Coleman, an executive editor at Star who decided to return to Bauer Publications that same month; and Denise Brodey, the No. 2 editor at Shape, who defected to Meredith Corp. after just six months at American Media.