Laura Lang, global chief executive at Publicis Groupe's Digitas online-marketing and advertising agency, is moving back to New York to run Time Warner's Time Inc., publisher of Time, Fortune, Sports Illustrated, People, and other national magazines.
Lang lacks magazine experience, but Time Warner boss Jeff Bewkes said her "understanding of digital and marketing" and her strong ties to advertisers made Lang the right woman to "aggressively evolve" its titles as advertising moves online.
Lang's switch comes a month after Publicis said it was merging Digitas' Philadelphia-based health-care unit and affiliate Razorfish Health into a new Healthcare Communications Group. Digitas Health founder David Kramer, a longtime business-video producer, announced during the summer that he would retire by year's end.
"We wish her well," Digitas spokesman Julian McBride told me. He said "succession plans" would be made "in the coming weeks."
Digitas employs 3,000 in 19 countries and counts drugmakers AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Shire, Novo Nordisk, and Johnson & Johnson among its clients.
Besides her digital, ad, and corporate background (including stints at Pfizer and Bristol-Myers) and her Wharton M.B.A. financial focus, Lang offers "a disarming, collegial way in meetings," said Brian Tierney, boss at RealTime Media in Bryn Mawr and former Inquirer publisher, who serves on the Nutrisystem Inc. board with Lang. "She's not a table-banger. She is a great person for an organization in changing times."
Digitas and Razorfish grew rapidly in the mid-2000s but reduced staff in the recent recession. Lang ran Digitas' U.S. business before taking the top job in 2007, just before the advertising and marketing industry crashed along with the economy.
John Elduff, the Berwyn-based owner of JTE Multimedia L.L.C., publisher of Postgraduate Medicine and other medical-themed magazines, said he was close to launching the revival issue of long-dormant Collier's magazine, which he bought at auction last year, along with the old Saturday Review title, for just $2,000.
"We're doing a cleanup of our website before the first mails," Elduff told me. The new Collier's is aimed at senior citizens in doctors' offices, which ought to be good for some drug and lifestyle ads.
What about content? Elduff said contributors would include University of Pittsburgh orthopedic surgeon and TV personality Vonda Wright and ex-U.S. Rep. and would-be president Newt Gingrich, who wrote an article on the "Habits of Liberty" that "made America great," plus there will be "vintage" articles from the Collier's archives, which count Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Kipling, Vonnegut, Bradbury, Edward R. Murrow, and many other big 20th-century names.
The focus will be "very heavy in health and fitness," and "a strong digital strategy," he added. Print distribution will start at a few thousand copies.
Newsstand and bookstore distribution will take half a year to ramp up, Elduff added. He said he's looking for distribution partners. Maybe The Inquirer, he suggested.
Ad rates top at just under $2,000 for a full-cover spread or back cover.
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