Hachette 'committed' to Kennedy's vision for 'George'

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Hachette Filipacchi Magazines President-CEO Jack Kliger today said his company "continues to be committed to [John F. Kennedy Jr.'s] vision for [George]," amid new uncertainty sparked by last Friday's presumed fatal plane crash involving Mr. Kennedy.

Even before the tragedy, a decision on whether to continue supporting the 4-year-old magazine confronted Mr. Kliger, who started at Hachette June 1; Hachette executives were due to make a decision within the next 30 days on whether to invest more money in the political monthly or allow Mr. Kennedy to seek other outside investors.

Mr. Kliger also said: "We are all saddened by the tragic events of this past weekend surrounding John Kennedy, Carolyn Bessette Kennedy and Lauren Bessette. John's reputation as a visionary editor, a talented businessman and fine role model is known throughout the industry, and indeed throughout the world. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Kennedy and Bessette families."

In one of his last interviews about George, Mr. Kennedy, who held the title of editor in chief, said he would consider partnering with another company if Hachette refused additional investments. In an interview in Advertising Age March 15, Mr. Kennedy said: "I'm not going to settle for a background position. One way or another, I'm going to make sure the magazine gets the support it needs." His future plans included starting a George TV show; enlisting more "star" contributors of the stature of columnists Paul Begala, ex-Clinton adviser, and former Republican Sen. Al D'Amato; and hiring an ad agency. The magazine hasn't had a publisher since Hachette-appointed Steve McEvoy left in April. Mr. Kennedy wanted to hire a publisher of his own choosing.

Copyright July 1999, Crain Communications Inc.

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