Lagardere Names a New CEO at Hachette, Publisher of Elle, Woman's Day

Outgoing Lemarchand Cut Costs, Sold Magazines

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Lagardere Active has named Steve Parr, former president of Primedia Enthusiast Media and Source Interlink Media, the new president-CEO of Hachette Filipacchi Media U.S., the publisher of magazines including Elle and Woman's Day. Mr. Parr succeeds Alain Lemarchand, who will be appointed to a new senior management post within Lagardere Active, the company said. The changes take effect Oct. 1.

Steve Parr
Steve Parr
Hachette has experienced lots of cost cutting, changes and persistent rumors that it was on the block since Mr. Lemarchand arrived from France in September 2008 -- just as the U.S. economy was declining and the parent company was cooling on the U.S. magazine market. He surveyed Hachette's operations, introduced cuts that included salary reductions and eventually sold five magazines: American Photographer, Popular Photography, Sound & Vision, Boating and Flying. He closed Metropolitan Home last November.

Mr. Lemarchand also pulled Hachette out of the Magazine Publishers of America, a particularly striking bit of cost-cutting because his predecessor atop Hachette, Jack Kliger, had recently and prominently served as chairman of the association, criticizing publishers who didn't join and pay the dues as free riders.

Last summer Hachette tried to interest Hearst in some sort of partnership or acquisition, according to people with knowledge of the talks, but without success. When asked last August if Hachette was trying to get Hearst to run or buy Elle's U.S. edition, both Lagardere and Mr. Lemarchand offered carefully couched denials that did nothing to extinguish the speculation.

Alain Lemarchand
Alain Lemarchand
Mr. Parr's appointment is the next step in a multi-year plan for the company, Lagardere said today. "Leveraging Alain Lemarchand's successful two-year reorganization and repositioning, Steve joins our company at a critical time for continuing our development and growth efforts," the company said in a memo to staff. "With 20+ years experience in magazines, books and new media, Steve has an excellent reputation in the market. He is ideally suited to solidify the company's position as an industry leader and execute next steps of the plan, which include increasing market share and profitability."

It's the latest CEO spot to turn over in a magazine industry that's been rapidly changing its top executives. Last month Time Inc. named Jack Griffin its new chairman-CEO, succeeding Ann Moore; he had been president of Meredith Corp.'s National Media Group, which houses Meredith's magazines. Meredith promoted Tom Harty to succeed him at the head of that group. Those changes followed Conde Nast group president David Carey's defection to Hearst Magazines, where he was named president, succeeding Cathie Black. Conde itself had recently named Bob Sauerberg its new president, succeeding Charles H. Townsend.

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