A report this morning in The New York Post said Mr. Needham was "about to be forced out" in a cost-cutting move, but Mr. Needham insisted that he told owner Dennis Publishing months ago that he would leave, partly to see more of his 2-year-old daughter.
"The notion that I'm being forced out is totally untrue," he said. "I have an excellent relationship with Dennis Publishing." His latest contract at Dennis expires in July.
Dennis Publishing President-CEO Stephen Colvin sent an internal memo as well, setting the record straight: "Many of you have read the article in today's New York Post about Ed Needham leaving Dennis Publishing. I just want to clarify that Ed Needham resigned from Dennis Publishing. ... Ed actually resigned about three months ago and has been quietly and professionally working out his notice period. He will be leaving Dennis Publishing at the end of this month. His decision to leave is purely based on his desire to relocate back to England with his wife and young child."
Ad pages at Maxim fell 6.2% last year and plummeted 32% in the first quarter of 2006 from their total in first-quarter 2005, according to the Publishers Information Bureau. Its newsstand sales have come down from the hurricane strengths of earlier days, but its average paid circulation remains large at 2.5 million, according to its latest statement to the Audit Bureau of Circulations.
Mr. Needham has been top editor at Maxim since July 2004, and just recently oversaw its first significant redesign -- unveiled in the May issue -- since its launch nine years ago. He previously served two years as editor in chief at Wenner Media's Rolling Stone and before that was FHM's launch editor in the U.S.
The departure of Maxim's top editor comes amidst talk that founder Felix Dennis appears to be seeking potential buyers for Maxim, Blender and Stuff, though the company has refused to comment publicly on whether or not the titles are for sale.
Dennis said a successor to Mr. Jellinek at Stuff, a 1.3 million circulation title, will be announced shortly.