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73 Other Jobs Lost as Meredith Absorbs Gruner & Jahr Titles

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NEW YORK ( -- Meredith has begun eliminating jobs as it absorbs new acquisitions Parents, Child, Fitness, Family Circle and Ser Padres magazines, which it bought from Gruner & Jahr Publishing USA for $350 million.
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Meredith has offered approximately 315 G&J employees permanent jobs, offered temporary posts to about 75 more and left another 75 workers to seek new jobs, according to the company.

New leadership team
"Of the four primary magazines that we are acquiring, three come over to Meredith with the management and leadership intact," said Jack Griffin, president of the Meredith Publishing Group. The fourth was not so lucky.

"Family Circle is one of the great brands in the business," Mr. Griffin said. "It has enormous potential. We have installed a leadership team that we believe will help take Family Circle to the next level."

The highest-profile G&J staffer to lose her post is Susan Ungaro, editor in chief at Family Circle for 11 years. Linda Fears was named acting editor in chief; Ms. Fears had been editor in chief for new business development at G&J and was previously editor in chief at YM and an articles editor at Parents.

“I’ve been so fortunate to be editor in chief for 11 years through five CEOs,” Ms. Ungaro said today, her last day on the job.

Publisher also out
Peg Farrell, vice president and publisher of Family Circle, also lost her job. Meredith named James T. Carr to succeed her; he had been publisher of Midwest Living for four years.

Family Circle declined in paid circulation to 4.3 million during the second half of last year from 4.6 million in the last half of 2003, according to statements filed with the Audit Bureau of Circulations.

Ad pages fell 6.3% last year, according to the Publishers Information Bureau, although pages through May of this year are up 7%.

'Things had started to gel'
“The past couple of years have been tough times for lots of mass-market women’s magazines,” Ms. Ungaro added. “The first half of this year, we’re up 36% on the newsstand. Things were starting to gel. That’s the only reason I was surprised this decision was made.”

Russell Denson, president-CEO at G&J since May 2004, is also out of a job, as is Susan R.E. Geramian, vice president for corporate communications, after eight years with the company.

Peter Gross, director of travel advertising at Meredith since 2003, was promoted to succeed Mr. Carr as publisher at Midwest Living.

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