Tuesday, June 2, 2009

New Playboy CEO Puts the Kibosh on Sales Talk?

And no, I'm not certain that I spelled "kibosh" correctly.

Anyway, news comes that Playboy Enterprise's new CEO is the widely rumored Scott Flanders, currently the CEO of Freedom Communications, Inc., a California family owned newspaper and television media company. In an interview in the Chicago Tribune, Flanders says a number of interesting things -- almost all of them right -- including his commitment to working for Playboy's long-term success and not a quick sale.

I thought this comment was pretty important, showing that he understands the company he will be heading, starting July 1:
Playboy already has a very powerful brand, a very powerful asset. It participates across virtually every media platform. In many of those areas, Playboy was a pioneer. Having said that, it is still a relatively small company. While it punches above its weight, I believe Playboy's best days are in front of it.
I'm always a bit skeptical when a corporate chief says our-best-days-are-ahead-of-us sort of stuff (because they all say it, even if their Titanic is about to hit the corporate iceberg), but the above comment suggests that Flanders knows both his new company's limitations and its potential. His grounded optimism becomes even clearer when he defends print publishing:
I remain a believer in print. The consumer experience is much more tactile and comfortable with print. Particularly with magazines, there is a visual experience. Not just for the content and the editorial, but also for the advertising. The newspaper and magazine industry do not have an audience recession. When you add the print readership and the 45 million pageviews. ... The audience for Playboy is larger than it has ever been.
You can read the entire interview here, including his comments about moving from a libertarian publishing company to one perceived to be liberal (but, in reality, has largely been libertarian) and about the actual health of Playboy Enterprises (compared to the perception).

Flanders replaces interim CEO Jerome Kern and is the permanent replacement for Christie Hefner, the longtime Playboy company head who left in January.

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