He succeeds Mark Vamos, 51, who becomes editor at large for Mansueto Ventures. Mr. Vamos took over as editor in 2005 after John A. Byrne, who helped save Fast Company from extinction by recruiting Joe Mansueto to buy it, left for BusinessWeek.
Although most magazines say they maintain a wall between their editorial and advertising operations, largely to safeguard editorial integrity, Mr. Safian said his job straddling that wall isn't really that unusual any more. "Today editors at all magazines straddle that wall," he said. "That's just the reality for everyone. To have an integrated editorial-business platform for any media property today is essential."
One person, one message
"I feel confident that we will have the license and the freedom," Mr. Safian added, "to do the kinds of stories we want without having to kowtow to business interests."
John Koten, CEO, Mansueto Ventures, said positioning a magazine as a consistent, distinctive brand is critical in the current media climate. "It's not just the publication you put out every week or month -- it's about how you talk to your constituencies, marketing yourself, present yourself in direct mail and circulation efforts and all your advertising and marketing activities," he said. "There has to be one person who sets that consistent agenda and message for the whole organization."
'The brand custodian'
"I just want Bob to be the brand custodian," Mr. Koten added. "I want him to have that authority."
Before Mr. Safian joined Fortune, he had been an executive editor at Time. Before that he was managing editor of Money for six years.