Top Editor out at Hearst's 'Marie Claire'

Lesley Jane Seymour Replaced With Exec Editor of 'More'

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Lesley Jane Seymour was ousted from her post as editor in chief at Hearst Magazines' Marie Claire today and replaced by Joanna Coles, who has been executive editor at Meredith Corp.'s More magazine since September 2004. Ms. Seymour, who had been at the helm of Marie Claire since coming over from Redbook in June 2001, is leaving the company.
Average total circulation was up at 'Marie Claire,' but newsstand sales had slipped in recent years.
Average total circulation was up at 'Marie Claire,' but newsstand sales had slipped in recent years.

Ms. Coles, 43, starts her new job May 15. "I'm very impressed with Joanna's experience in both magazines and newspapers, covering everything from current affairs and politics to fashion and features," said Cathleen P. Black, president, Hearst Magazines, which owns Marie Claire in a joint venture with Marie Claire Album in Paris. "She has an innate talent for what's newsworthy and absolutely has what it takes to lead an international magazine brand like Marie Claire."

It seems, though, that Ms. Seymour also has a knack for the newsworthy and brand leadership; Marie Claire was just nominated for a 2006 National Magazine Award in general excellence among magazines with paid circulation between 500,000 and 1 million.

Newsstand slip
But newsstand sales had slipped in recent years, a measure that fairly or unfairly is often considered a gauge of a magazine's vitality. Though average paid circulation grew to 970,617 in the second half of 2005 from 940,777 in the second half of 2003, single-copy sales dropped to 543,908 from 582,798 in the same period, according to filings to the Audit Bureau of Circulations.

Ad pages fell 0.7% in the first quarter of 2006 from the equivalent period a year prior and fell 9% for all of 2005, according to the Publishers Information Bureau.

Hearst executives said they hope a change of leadership will give the magazine a boost. "We need to make sure that the magazine is constantly ahead of the game and continues to break ground," said a Hearst spokesperson. "We think that Joanna is the right person to give Marie Claire a fresh approach."

No age change
Although Ms. Coles comes to Marie Claire from Meredith's More, which is aimed at women over 40, a Hearst spokesperson said Marie Claire will continue to target the 18-to-34 audience.

Before her time at More, Ms. Coles had been articles editor and features editor at New York magazine. She was previously the New York bureau chief for The Times of London from May 1998 to August 2001. She has also co-hosted a talk show on XM Radio's Take Five channel.
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