CEO | Hachette
Last summer, Jack Kliger, Hachetteâ€™s longtime president and CEO and recent chairman of the Magazine Publishers of America, announced he would relinquish his role at Hachetteâ€™s U.S. division. In stepped Alain Lemarchand, chief operating officer of French parent company LagardĂ¨re Active. After months of studying the businessâ€”Lemarchand last month announced a restructuring of its womenâ€™s magazine brands, including Elle and Womanâ€™s Day, each aligned with a â€śchief brand officer.â€ť
As Lemarchandâ€™s first major move since taking over, some would argue it was a surprisingly thoughtful one. Hachette had become known for its somewhat itchy trigger fingerâ€”pulling the plug on growing magazines like ElleGirl.
Lemarchand, too, has an unwavering eye on the bottom line. â€śWe have to make sure every dollar we spend is unavoidable, is strictly critical to the business,â€ť Lemarchand told the Wall Street Journal recently.
And thereâ€™s reason to be cost-conscious. Elle managed to grow its ad pages five percent in 2008, according to the Publishers Information Bureau, but other titles, including Womanâ€™s Day (-7.5 percent), Metropolitan Home (-3.5 percent) and Car and Driver (-11.3 percent) were down significantly.
Lemarchand has no U.S. publishing experience. But in terms of corporate business management, he certainly has the pedigree. He held the position of CFO for various LagardĂ¨re subsidiaries in France and the U.S., and in 1999 became head of financial communication and investor relations management for LagardĂ¨re SCA. In September 2006, he became a member of LagardĂ¨re Activeâ€™s executive board.
In terms of being thrown into a dicey managerial situationâ€”replacing a magazine institution in Kliger and charged with cutting costs and instilling confidence in Hachetteâ€™s weary staffâ€”and coming out, at least to this point, unscathed, Lemarchand deserves recognition.
VITAL STATS: Elle grew ad pages 5 percent in 2008, but Hachetteâ€™s other primary U.S. magazines, including Womanâ€™s Day, Metropolitan Home and Car and Driver, were down.