Valerie Salembier Shifts to 'Bazaar'; Kevin O'Malley Hired at 'Esquire'

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NEW YORK ( -- Harper's Bazaar and Esquire got new publishers today, as Hearst Magazines shook up its executive ranks in a bid to revive its flagging women's fashion title.

Valerie Salembier, who had been vice president and publisher of Esquire since 1996, becomes the new senior vice president and publisher of Harper's Bazaar. She replaces Cynthia Lewis, who will begin work on an unnamed fashion-lifestyle title, which she will oversee with former Mademoiselle editor Mandi Norwood.

New fashion title planned
Michael Clinton, Hearst's executive vice president and chief marketing officer, said Ms. Lewis' project would resemble "the new voices in the fashion world," such as Time Inc.'s In Style and Hearst's Marie Claire, which Ms. Lewis helped launch. Ms. Lewis had been at Harper's Bazaar since mid-2000. Ms. Salembier and Ms. Lewis were not immediately available for comment.

Ironically, it had been Harper Bazaar's editor in chief, Glenda Bailey, whose job security had been whispered about. But the most recent Audit Bureau of Circulations Fas-Fax Report showed a 13.4% rise in the title's newsstand sales.

Trailing in ad pages
On the ad page front, though,Harper Bazaar's has been mired in third place among the three pure-play women's fashion magazines, behind Conde Nast Publications' Vogue and Hachette Fillipacchi Media's Elle. In 2002, its ad pages fell 12.6% to 1,436.2. Vogue, the category leader, rang up more than twice as many ad pages last year, with 2,890.0. In Style has made substantial inroads among fashion advertisers as well.

Meanwhile, replacing Ms. Salembier at Esquire is Kevin O'Malley, a former publisher of Wenner Media's Men's Journal. Most recently he had been president of Emap USA's Sports Division.

Remaining rivals
Ms. Salembier's return to fashion once again pits her against Conde Nast's Tom Florio. Mr. Florio had been the publisher at GQ -- Esquire's rival -- before shifting to Vogue last year.

Harper's Bazaar and Esquire remain prestige titles in the Hearst portfolio, but they're faring poorly against their competition at Conde Nast, with Esquire's ad pages trailing GQ's by nearly a 2-to-1 margin. Mr. Clinton dismissed these concerns, though, saying that "at the end of the day, our job is to operate profitable magazines."

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