CEO | Hachette
Last summer, Jack Kliger, Hachetteâs longtime president and CEO and recent chairman of the Magazine Publishers of America, announced he would relinquish his role at Hachetteâs U.S. division. In stepped Alain Lemarchand, chief operating officer of French parent company LagardĂ¨re Active. After months of studying the businessâLemarchand last month announced a restructuring of its womenâs magazine brands, including Elle and Womanâs Day, each aligned with a âchief brand officer.â
As Lemarchandâs first major move since taking over, some would argue it was a surprisingly thoughtful one. Hachette had become known for its somewhat itchy trigger fingerâpulling the plug on growing magazines like ElleGirl.
Lemarchand, too, has an unwavering eye on the bottom line. âWe have to make sure every dollar we spend is unavoidable, is strictly critical to the business,â Lemarchand told the Wall Street Journal recently.
And thereâs 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 Womanâs 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 Activeâs executive board.
In terms of being thrown into a dicey managerial situationâreplacing a magazine institution in Kliger and charged with cutting costs and instilling confidence in Hachetteâs weary staffâand coming out, at least to this point, unscathed, Lemarchand deserves recognition.
VITAL STATS: Elle grew ad pages 5 percent in 2008, but Hachetteâs other primary U.S. magazines, including Womanâs Day, Metropolitan Home and Car and Driver, were down.
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