Howatson leaves as Playboy spins off new-media

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Marianne Howatson is leaving as president of Playboy Enterprises' Publishing Group after just nine months in that post as part of a restructuring of the Chicago-based media company.

Playboy will spin off its new-media operations, which had been part of the publishing unit, as a separate division. Company Chairman-CEO Christie Hefner said the move would reduce Ms. Howatson's role, prompting her to leave the company to pursue other opportunities in the new media arena.

There had been earlier rumors, though, that Ms. Howatson, a longtime publishing veteran, was having problems adjusting to the company, which she joined in April 1997. Ms. Hefner said she was not aware of any such issues, and that they did not play a role in Ms. Howatson's departure.

Ms. Hefner said Playboy will soon begin a search for Ms. Howatson's successor, and another for a president of the new-media group.

Copyright January 1998, Crain Communications Inc.

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