Fuller Steps Down as Editorial Director at American Media

She Transformed Star but Could Not Match Her Earlier Success at Us Weekly

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Bonnie Fuller, the editor most responsible for the rise of celebrity weekly magazines, is leaving her position as exec VP-editorial director at American Media, the publisher of magazines including Star and National Enquirer.
Bonnie Fuller
Bonnie Fuller

Her departure had been rumored for years as American Media's high-profile and expensive bid to remake Star as a glossy competitor to Us Weekly never quite lived up to expectations.

Losing more than a job
Her latest contract, signed in 2006 to run through March 2009, provided an annual salary of $1.5 million, a minimum bonus of $500,000 each year, a "target bonus" of $1 million, and incidentals such as first-class travel, accommodations at hotels such as the Four Seasons, $80,000 a year for car services and up to $2,000 per year in "properly documented hair and makeup charges for business-related appearances."

Ms. Fuller will continue as editor at large at Star and a consultant to Chairman-CEO David Pecker, according to a statement this afternoon from the company.

"I was ready to take on a new adventure," Ms. Fuller told Ad Age this afternoon. "I felt that I really had accomplished my mission. I think that I accomplished a tremendous amount. Turning star from a tabloid to a glossy magazine is something that had never been done. It's been incredibly successful. And it's having the best year yet."

Ms. Fuller said she has her next step in mind, but would only say that it involved the media business. Star has indeed grown quickly in ad-page sales, but has suffered some newsstand slumps and reduced its circulation guarantee along the way.

What's left to accomplish?
It wasn't immediately clear whether there was a natural fit for her remaining in the magazine business, where she has already accomplished more than most editors ever will -- reigning for a time at big brands including Hearst's Cosmopolitan and Conde Nast's Glamour -- and burned the occasional bridge along the way. American Media poached Ms. Fuller from Wenner Media's Us Weekly in 2003, hoping to duplicate her success in kicking that magazine into high gear.

"Bonnie Fuller has been an important part of a team that has overseen a range of extremely successful editorial initiatives over the past five years," Mr. Pecker said in the company statement. "I am pleased that we will continue to benefit from her journalistic contributions through her role as editor-at-large at Star and a consultant to the company."
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