Reader's Digest a Family Affair Once Again?

Former Fairchild CEO Mary Berner Has an In: Her Brother

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NEW YORK ( -- Of all the important tasks that will face Mary Berner when she returns to the magazine business -- a decision several executives say is likely -- as the next CEO at Reader's Digest Association, one will rank near the top of the list: saying, "Thanks, little brother."
Mary Berner may be headed back to work.
Mary Berner may be headed back to work. Credit: Scott Gries

Robert L. Berner III
That's not to say Ms. Berner is anything but an absolute get; as the former CEO of Fairchild Publications, she has experience, connections and savvy that puts most magazine executives to shame. But it's Ripplewood Holdings that wants to install her at Reader's Digest Association once it completes buying the company -- and it's Ripplewood Managing Director Robert L. Berner III who can call her his big sister.

Ms. Berner hasn't returned calls or e-mails from Advertising Age since Nov. 27, when the Delaney Report first said she was on tap to take the CEO spot.

The CEO job, not incidentally, is currently occupied by Eric Schrier, the same Eric Schrier who talked up the Ripplewood acquisition Nov. 16. In a statement, he pronounced it a "great opportunity" for Reader's Digest Association employees, then announced his eagerness to work with the new owners.

Happy Thanksgiving?
The same statement included Ms. Berner's brother saying, "We look forward to working with the Reader's Digest team." It is unclear whether any of that work happened at Thanksgiving dinner.

Spokesmen for Reader's Digest Association and Ripplewood both declined to comment.
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