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JANICE GROSSMAN HITS NEW HEIGHTS AT K-III;NEW POSITION LIFTS THIS FORMER SOCIAL WORKER TO THE TOP RANKS OF WOMEN IN MAGAZINE PUBLISHING

By Published on .

Janice Grossman's star is soaring at K-III Communications Corp. But not long ago her publishing career seemed sidetracked, thanks to the recession.

After only three years inside Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., she had landed the plum job as publisher of New York Magazine in January 1991. Then Mr. Murdoch was forced to put most of his U.S. magazine holdings on the block.

By June of that year, K-III had won a $650 million bidding war. Ms. Grossman stayed with the new operation, then a relatively unknown trade publisher backed by Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co.

ON TO `SEVENTEEN'

The new owners promptly moved Ms. Grossman to Seventeen, and that publisher slot became her launching pad at K-III. Last year, K-III revenue reached an estimated $1.2 billion. And earlier this month, after a successful stint as group publisher, Ms. Grossman was promoted to president-advertising and marketing for K-III's consumer magazine group.

In her new post, the 45-year-old ranks as one of the top three or four women executives in magazine publishing today. Not bad for a former social worker.

"She's a tough competitor," said Alex Mironovich, now publisher at Better Homes & Gardens but in the early '90s publisher of YM when it was rapidly building circulation to battle Seventeen.

When Ms. Grossman took over at Seventeen, it was a venerable and profitable magazine but losing market share. Today, at a circulation of 2.1 million, Seventeen is the largest of the teen titles.

With her new post, Ms. Grossman heads up an operation that generates about $250 million.

CHANGE OF PLANS

"I never planned on being a publisher," said the Canadian-born Ms. Grossman. After six years in social work, "I was burned out," she said. She entered publishing as an ad sales rep at Ms. in 1978. Six years later, she had risen to ad director before jumping to News Corp.

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