Leaf returned to Fortune late last year as assistant managing editor. He had previously served as guest editor for The New York Times op-ed page and Sunday Review section. O’Keefe, a 14-year veteran of Fortune, most recently served as its assistant managing editor.
The changes were designed to help Fortune cope with the departure of Stephanie Mehta, who resigned from the magazine in order to take some time off. “Stephanie had many responsibilities at Fortune, so many in fact I think it’s best no single person take on all of her work,” wrote Fortune’s managing editor, Andy Serwer, in a memo.
You can read Serwer’s full note below.
As you probably know Stephanie Mehta is leaving Fortune today. I said to many of you last night that Stephanie truly belongs in Fortune’s Hall of Fame. She has been an outstanding editor, an inspiring mentor and a wonderful, tireless and steadfast colleague. We will miss her and wish her all the best as she leaves to take some well-deserved time to chill. Stephanie had many responsibilities at Fortune, so many in fact I think it’s best no single person take on all of her work. And so effective immediately I am happy to report that Cliff Leaf will be the new Deputy Managing Editor of Fortune and Brian O’Keefe will be Fortune’s new International Editor.
You could say that Cliff’s rise at Fortune has been meteoric, and it has in one sense as he came to us as a freelancer last August and starting working full-time only in October. But most of you know that Cliff did a seven-year tour of duty at Fortune previously from 2000 to 2007. So he is quite familiar with how we roll, but also brings an outsider’s perspective from his time working as an editor at SmartMoney and the New York Times. Cliff is a super-smart editor and a major-league font of creative ideas. He’s done a terrific job of super-charging Fortune.com’s premium edit for our launch.
Brian O’Keefe—like Stephanie a 14 year veteran of Fortune—is most qualified for his new role, having traveled to China, Thailand, Brazil, Australia, New Zealand, England, Switzerland and most recently Ireland in the service of Fortune. So yes, our biggest Alabama football fan on the staff is also our biggest internationalist.
There are a number of other personnel changes in the works that relate to Stephanie’s departure and I will report them to you as soon as I can, but I wanted to give you the happy news about Cliff and Brian right away. I’m very excited for both of them and for everyone here at Fortune given the great opportunities that lie in front of us.
Please join me in wishing Stephanie a most fond farewell and congratulating Cliff and Brian on their new roles.