The change comes precisely as Maxim is getting a new editor, Stuff's Jimmy Jellinek, who was named May 12 to succeed Ed Needham. Maxim and several of its Dennis Publishing siblings are also apparently on the block, although the company refuses to confirm or deny such reports.
"The opportunity to get somebody at his level of experience and expertise is extremely rare," said Robert F. Gregory, group publisher, Maxim, of Mr. DeLuca, who had previously also been associate publisher at Conde Nast's Vanity Fair and Time Inc.'s In Style. "He's got a very, very impressive track record of working closely with the editorial side in the modern way -- there's a way to do that now that results in a very productive collaboration."
Not a step down
Mr. Gregory said Mr. DeLuca had not taken a step down the career ladder by accepting an associate publisher's post after two years as publisher at Wenner Media's Rolling Stone. "This job is certainly as big a job as publisher at Rolling Stone," he said. "Maxim has twice the circulation of Rolling Stone -- that means our out-of-pocket is substantively higher, so the value proposition for an advertiser has to be greater. It takes publisher-level experience and talent to get that done. I can't be everywhere."
Maxim's newsstand sales have fallen from their heights, but its average paid circulation remains robust at 2.5 million, according to its latest statement to the Audit Bureau of Circulations. (Rolling Stone reported average paid circulation of 1.3 million, meaning Maxim is nearly, but not actually, twice its size.)
Mr. DeLuca said he was happy to join Maxim because of the size and strength of the brand. "It's very important in today's climate to have a strong, powerful brand behind you so that you can create really innovative impactful programs for clients," he said. "With all the legs of the Internet and the mobile phone and everything else going on at Maxim, it gives us an opportunity to put together programs that help clients with their businesses. You can't do it with just the printed page any more."
Ad pages at Maxim have declined 19.4% from January through April, compared with the equivalent period a year prior, according to the Publishers Information Bureau, but sales have picked up for subsequent issues.