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Posts Tagged ‘Maria Rodale’

Scott Schulman Named President of Rodale

Scott Schulman GScott Schulman, a Dow Jones veteran, has been named the new president of Rodale. Schulman comes to Rodale from Dow Jones, where he had been since 1999. He most recently served as president of Dow Jones’ corporate markets group.

“Scott is the right president at the right time for our company,” said Maria Rodale, CEO of Rodale, in a statement. “He not only understands the business of digital content, but also is comfortable and adept at making the bold moves necessary to significantly drive revenue and profitability.”

Schulman will report to Rodale. His first day is October 28.

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Maria Rodale Likens Syria’s Chemical Weapons Attack to Pesticides

Maria Rodale, CEO and chairman of Rodale Inc., is an intelligent person. She has to be; she oversees one of the biggest magazine publishing houses in the nation. However, in an open letter to Barack Obama published on The Huffington Post, she comes off as a few Bradys short of a bunch. By that we mean stupid. Rodale, you see, thinks the chemical weapons attack that killed over 100,000 1,000 Syrians is the same as pesticides used in America:

I do not consider myself a Christian, but I would like to quote Jesus and ask, ‘Who among you has not sinned?’ Yes, Syria has undoubtedly used chemical weapons on its own people. Maybe it was the government; maybe it was the opposition; maybe you know for sure. But here’s what I know for sure: We are no better. We have been using chemical weapons on our own children — and ourselves — for decades, the chemical weapons we use in agriculture to win the war on pests, weeds, and the false need for ever greater yields.

Yikes.

Look, we’re not exactly excited about Monsanto and the rest of the nation’s chemical companies. But comparing what they do to what happened in Syria seems wrong. Maybe this letter is supposed to be satire? After all, she did quote a character from a fairy tale.

[Image: Adweek]

A Rodale Refugee Reunion; Christine Lahti Penning a Memoir?

1003_mockup.gifAs faithful readers of this column know, in the meta media universe that is Wednesdays at Michael’s, there is no end to the way fellow diners are connected. I was joined today by Liz Vaccariello, editor-in-chief and chief content officer of Reader’s Digest and the author of New York Times‘ best sellers The Digest Diet and The Digest Diet Cookbook. Minutes after Liz sat down, David Zinczenko arrived and the two Rodale refugees exchanged a big hug and chatted while I made the rounds in the dining room. When things settled down, Liz explained that both she and Dave got to know each other during “The Steve Murphy Era” at Rodale when she was Prevention‘s EIC.  ”It was Dave who paved the way for so many editors to write books – including me,” she added. During those halcyon days at Rodale, Liz penned Flat Belly Diet!, which sold a million copies, and the equally successful Flat Belly Diet! 400 Calorie Fix and became an in-demand health and fitness expert on television, securing a spot as a regular guest host on The Doctors and appearing regularly on Good Morning America, which she still does for Reader’s Digest. She’s even logged two seasons on The Biggest Loser.

Liz left Prevention to helm Every Day with Rachael Ray and, in 2011, landed her “dream job” at Reader’s Digest, which has even taken her to the Oval Office. In an interview she scored with President Barack Obama, he told her that his grandfather would have been proud to see him featured in the magazine’s pages since he tore out the jokes in his issues to save for his grandson. It’s easy to see why the stunning and energetic mother of twin eight-year-old daughters, Sophia and Olivia, finds the EIC job at the iconic publication (which as a 99 percent brand awareness rating among Americans) a perfect fit. Between bites of her kale chicken Caesar salad, she enthused about the “positive, life-affirming” stories that have been RD‘s signature throughout its long history. In fact, she told me that she had plans to bring more of that signature all-American optimism into the mix by ”returning [the brand] to its roots.” But make no mistake about it — while  features like its well-loved jokes, “Quotable Quotes” and “Word Power,” are an enduring part of the mix, this is not your grandmother’s Reader’s Digest.

Liz Vaccariello and Diane Clehane

I was fascinated to learn that the magazine was the first publication to be available on Kindle and one of the first to offer readers an app. In December of last year, digital sales overtook newsstand sales, and the magazine now has over 1.2 million Facebook fans. All this bodes very well for Liz’s plans to unveil both a print and digital redesign of the magazine next year where, she says, there will be even more opportunities for readers to share and engage with the magazine and with each other.

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David Zinczenko on His New ‘High-Profile Life’ and the Real Story Behind His Leaving Rodale

1003_mockup.gifI’ve been looking forward to today’s Michael’s lunch for quite a while. David Zinczenko, who I met in this very dining room many years ago, was joining me with his business partner Stephen Perrine and Patrick Connors, the new publisher of Men’s Fitness. As most faithful readers of this column know, Dave, arguably one of the highest profile editors in history during his tenure as EIC of Men’s Health, and Stephen, head of Rodale Books, were unceremoniously fired from their positions at Rodale last November. The news shocked industry insiders and made headlines all over the media landscape, most notably in a piece penned by Keith Kelly for The New York Post where Maria Rodale cattily commented that David could now go on living his “high-profile life.” When asked if his departure would hurt the brand, she sniped, “It’s not Dave’s Health –  it’s Men’s Health.” Jealous much?

I was thrilled to score the exclusive first sit-down with Dave and Stephen to get the real story behind their firings, an overview of their new venture, Galvanized Brands, and the first look (which Patrick brought along hot off the presses today) of the June issue of Men’s Fitness, the result of their collaboration with their first client, AMI. Dave and Stephen are co-founders and CEO/president and chief creative officer, respectively, of their new firm. Stephen describes Galvanized Brands as a “broad-based brand building and media company that helps other companies unlock their hidden value specializing in health and wellness,” and the duo is positively euphoric about the company’s prospects.

Patrick Connors, David Zinczenko, Diane Clehane and Stephen Perrine

Not surprisingly, it turns out Dave’s living a “high-profile life” that made millions for his former employer has its advantages. (The highly successful Eat This, Not That series he wrote while at Rodale sold 7 million copies in North America.) Last month, it was announced Random House gave Dave distribution and a multi-million dollar deal for his own imprint, Zinc Ink, through its Ballantine Bantam Dell division. As part of the deal, Dave will pen three health/fitness books, the first of which will be published in 2014.  Zinc Ink will publish six to 12 non-fiction and lifestyle books annually — and Dave will share in the profits. He explained that, in addition to Zinc Ink, Random House is prepared to create a series of imprints, like say, AMI/Galvanized, tied to media brands which Random House will publish and distribute. There are currently “half a dozen” AMI/Galvanized book idea percolating, and Stephen told me the first book will be published some time this summer.

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David Zinczenko Joins AMI

David Zinczenko is joining AMI as a consulting editorial director. The New York Post reports that the connection was formed via Zinczenko’s new company, Galvanize Media.

At AMI, Zinczenko will advise titles such as Fit Pregnancy, Natural Health and Shape, while also helping David Pecker, CEO of AMI, enter into the book publishing market.

Zinczenko left Rodale in November under less than ideal circumstances. Maria Rodale said that “It was time for him to move on” and rather pointedly noted that “It’s not Dave’s Health. It’s Men’s Health.”

Tom Brokaw, Randi Zuckerberg and David Zinczenko’s Next Chapter

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As any self-respecting power luncher knows, December is no time to slack off and dip into the egg nog. Quite the contrary. The noontime hour during the holidays may be reserved for a little shopping for those that still go the brick and mortar route, but the regulars at Michael’s know that now is the time to get real business done, score some valuable face time and plot your next big move. As one mogul told me today, “I’ll celebrate in January. Now is the best time to get in there when the competition isn’t looking.” Consider yourself warned.

Judging from the interesting combinations of folks at the tables around the dining room today, I’d say there are plenty of movers and shakers whose New Year’s resolutions involve making some changes to the resume and fattening up that portfolio (even if the tax man is going to come looking for a bigger piece of the action come 2013). There were so many suits in the lounge eagerly awaiting to be seated when I showed up that I thought there was some kind of Wall Street holiday hoo-ha going on.  The appearance of Mark Zuckerberg‘s sister Randi Zuckerberg with AOL’s Jolie Hunt caused a bit of stir, and I spotted more than a handful of mavens “in transition” who have seemingly aligned themselves with some interesting power players in hopes for a brighter new year. Here’s hoping.

I was invited to join ‘Mayor’ Joe Armstrong and David Zinczenko for a dishy lunch. While Joe and I waited for Dave to arrive, I noticed that the Mayor’s omnipresent, tri-colored western boot that doubles as a centerpiece when he’s in the house had been replaced by a bigger, bronze version. The Mayor tells me that he decided to keep the red, white and blue version at home for safe keeping. It’s signed by music men Jimmy Buffet, Willie Nelson, Fats Domino and Elton John (on the day Joe hosted a lunch for Elton in celebration of the Broadway debut of Billy Elliot in this very dining room), as well as Laura Bush who happened to spy it on Joe’s table during a visit a while back and whipped out a Sharpie before Joe knew what hit him.

Diane Clehane, David Zinczenko and Joe Armstrong

I couldn’t wait to catch up with Dave when he arrived. His headline-making departure from Rodale a few weeks ago after his incredibly successful tenure at the top has gotten plenty of coverage. Just this week Women’s Wear Daily and AdAge weighed in, with the latter speculating on “Rodale’s Rocky Road” in the face of Dave’s exit. As you undoubtedly know, Dave was the high-profile  face and voice of the Men’s Health brand, with regular appearances on the Today show and scores of other shows from Ellen to Oprah. His much imitated Eat This, Not That bestsellers became their own franchise for Rodale, cementing the company’s place in pop culture as long as Dave kept churning out different versions.

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David Zinczenko Departs Rodale

David Zinczenko is leaving Rodale after 20 15 years with the company. During his time there, Zinczenko was responsible for elevating the Men’s Health brand. According to a release from Rodale, the departure was “mutual” and ahead of Zinczenko’s contract ending. The New York Post says that the rumor floating around town is that Zinczenko left to start a new company with Steve Perrine, who is also leaving Rodale.

With Zinczenko leaving, some changes were announced. Bill Phillips has been named vice president/editor-in-chief of the Men’s Health brand; Peter Moore has been promoted to vice president/editor-in-chief of Men’s Health; and Adam Campbell has been promoted to editor of MensHealth.com. Both Moore and Campbell will report to Phillips.

In a release, Maria Rodale, CEO of the company, said she was thankful for Zinczenko’s “creativity and leadership,” and she “truly wish[es] him all the best as he grows in new ways and in new places.” But when Adweek asked if Zinczenko had become unafforable, she was much more curt. “What he wanted we really couldn’t give, and I’m not talking about money,” Rodale said. “It was time for him to move on.”

Rodale Departures Blamed on Discontent with CEO Maria Rodale

Uh oh.  Rodale has been experiencing some staff departures lately. And sources are telling Fortune that the culprit is discontent with the leadership of Maria Rodale, who became CEO in 2009.

This certainly doesn’t seem like a coincidence:

A spokesperson for Rodale confirmed that the following people left or were fired in 2011: chief information officer Ken Citron; Jack Essig, publisher of Men’s Health; Andrew Livingston, director of consumer engagement; David Marchi, senior vice president of global marketing; chief marketing officer Gregg Michaelson; Mary Murcko, executive vice president and group publisher; Karen Rinaldi, executive vice president and books publisher; Bill Stump, senior vice president and editorial director; and Valerie Valente, a vice president in custom publishing. Rodale.com general manager David Kang, communications executive vice president Robin Shallow and executive vice president and group publisher MaryAnn Bekkedahl also left after Rodale became CEO.

This is in addition to the recent departure of  senior vice president of international operations, Michelle Meyercord, and vice president James Kreckler.

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Rodale Nabs Barnes & Noble Exec

Rodale has hired Anthony Astarita as its new Senior Vice President and General Manager for Digital and Brand Development. Astarita comes to Rodale from Barnes & Noble, where he most recently worked as Vice President, General Manager for e-Commerce and Digital Products. Astarita was one of the minds behind the Nook, Barnes & Noble’s e-reader.

Maria Rodale, Rodale’s CEO, said Astarita brings, “a wealth of digital expertise and notable credibility to the ambitious digital efforts Rodale has set for 2012 and beyond. He’s poised to expand our global digital business to better serve our customers around the world.”

“Rodale is a trusted and authoritative global leader in health, fitness and wellness, and I’m very excited to join this talented team,” said Astarita. “Capitalizing on their strong brands, unique assets, coveted partnerships and global presence, I look forward to helping propel the expansion of Rodale’s digital reach.”

Astarita will start January 3.

Rodale Splits Into Three New Groups

Maria Rodale, the CEO of Rodale Inc., has made some big changes at the publishing house. Adweek reports that the company is now split into three groups: Healthy Living, Active Living and Digital/Brand Development.

The Healthy Living Group includes Men’s Health, Women’s Health, Prevention and Organic Gardening. It will be overseen by David Zinczenko, who now holds the title of Excutive Vice President, General Manager. Active Living, which includes Runner’s WorldBicycling, and Running Times, will be overseen by David Willey, who is now a Senior Vice President, General Manager. The third group, Digital/Brand Development, doesn’t have a General Manager in place yet.

As with any major changes, someone will be displaced. Mary Murcko is leaving Rodale, and she will be replaced by Chris Lambiase, who has been promoted to Publishing Director.

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