Magazine article Folio: the Magazine for Magazine Management

Incoming Playboy CEO: 'I Believe the Magazine Will Come Back': A Q+A with Scott Flanders

Magazine article Folio: the Magazine for Magazine Management

Incoming Playboy CEO: 'I Believe the Magazine Will Come Back': A Q+A with Scott Flanders

Article excerpt

IN EARLY JUNE--a little less than six months after Christie Hefner, daughter of founder Hugh Hefner, stepped down after a 20-year run as CEO of Playboy Enterprises--the company appointed Scott Flanders as its new chief executive.

The president and CEO of Irvine, California-based media company Freedom Communications, Flanders was to transition into his new role at Playboy on July 1.

Flanders recently spoke with FOLIO: about his appointment and what he hopes to accomplish by taking the helm of a company--and magazine--during a pivotal time in its history.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

FOLIO:: What's the first goal you'd like to accomplish as CEO?

Flanders: There isn't one thing that I want to accomplish first. One of the things I'll be doing early is traveling internationally to meet with our key licensees. Playboy's fastest-growing and most profitable segment is its licensing business. Getting up to speed on the opportunities and challenges associated with those key external relationships is something I want to do early on.

FOLIO:: During the Playboy's last earnings call, interim CEO Jerome Kern said the company was eying "radical" changes to the print business model. What are your thoughts about turning that portion of the business around?

Flanders: I'm a big believer in print--particularly the viability of glossy magazines. That reader experience can't and won't be duplicated online, even where I see the reader technology moving. What Playboy is confronting is an advertising recession. Playboy is having to shrink to grow in the future. I don't believe the magazine has lost its relevance. It's the largest read men's magazine in the world, including the Web site that generates over three million unique visits per month and almost 50 million page views. I believe the magazine will come back.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

FOLIO:: In February, when asked by an analyst if the company would consider a sale and/or changes in its strategic direction, Kern said the company was "open to discussions. …

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