GRUNER & JAHR’S DAN BREWSTER MAY BE OUT

Publisher Considering Replacing CEO

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Bertelsmann is considering replacing Gruner & Jahr USA Publishing CEO Daniel Brewster,
Photo: Doug Goodman
Gruner & Jahr President-CEO Dan Brewster.

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a report in the Wall Street Journal said this morning.

A G&J spokeswoman had no comment.

Meeting scheduled
A meeting is scheduled for Jan. 22 between Mr. Brewster and Axel Ganz, a G&J board member and head of international publications for Bertelsmann. Mr. Ganz could not be reached for comment.

Mr. Brewster, three and half years into a five-year contract, just finished an extremely difficult year. Under his leadership, G&J engaged in an acrimonious court battle with talk-show host Rosie O'Donnell, over a contract dispute involving the joint venture magazine Rosie, which closed in December 2002. At that trial, circulation practices at the publisher of YM, Family Circle and Parents were questioned, and a circulation executive admitted under oath that the company had known the numbers they had estimated for newsstand sales of Rosie were unlikely to be met.

Feared negative reaction
In her pre-trial deposition, Diane Potter, G&J senior vice president of consumer marketing, said, "Rosie's newsstand sales were so low compared to what we had seen previously" that the publisher feared "if we were to report them accurately, the advertising community would react so negatively that the magazine would be in great difficulty."

Earlier a problem surfaced in teen title YM's circulation reports that showed newsstand sales had also been overestimated.

Gruner & Jahr USA ad pages fell 7.9% to 6,156 for the period January through November, placing it seventh among the major publishing houses.

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