September brings some shifts in the world of women's magazines. Joanna Coles, Marie Claire's editor in chief since 2006, has been named the editor in chief of Cosmopolitan, replacing Kate White, who helmed the world's largest women's magazine for 14 years and is leaving to focus on her established writing and speaking career. Coles, of course, was already part of the Hearst publishing family, working just two floors away, as David Carr and Christine Haughney write in The New York Times. When White approached the president of Hearst Magazines, David Carey, in January to tell him she was considering retirement, the search for a replacement began. It eventually ended in the same building.
Carr and Haughney write, "Even in a struggling magazine industry where most titles are losing subscribers in droves, Cosmo’s circulation has risen steadily over the past four years and peaked in the first half of 2012 with 3,017,834 subscribers, according the Audit Bureau of Circulation. Glamour, a competitor owned by Conde Nast, has a circulation of 2.37 million."
In her time at Marie Claire, Coles, who is British, helped build the brand into a notable entity with a presence in the fashion community, or, as the Cosmopolitan announcement puts it, "a powerhouse, including two successful extensions, Marie Claire @Work and the Women on Top Awards." Coles was named Adweek’s Editor of the Year. Previously she was executive editor of More and spent time at New York magazine, The Times of London, The Guardian, BBC Radio, BBC2 TV, and The Daily Telegraph. She has also appeared on Project Runway as a judge and in the mentor role on Project Runway All Stars, where she doles out reasonable and savvy advice to the competitors. On the show she is both aspirational and a little bit intimidating; she seems to have a sense of humor, too.
As for her move from Marie Claire, a magazine with a target demographic swinging into the mid-40s, to a magazine targeting women in their twenties and thirties, via the Hearst release, Coles, who is 50, said, "I relish the chance to put my stamp on Cosmo and make it the young woman's ultimate playbook for confidence, choices and navigating change." To the New York Times, she said, “I’m incredibly excited about the global footprint"—there are 64 international editions—and "It’s big because it talks about things that are really important to women. It’s such an iconic logo.” She added, via the Times, "For me what’s important is to be on the side of women when it comes to sex. It’s very important to have a sense of humor when you edit a magazine — at Cosmo, it is much raunchier. I have a lot of learning to do. There are 365 sex positions of the day here and one of them is called the linguine.”
Only recently we mourned the passing of the most famous name in the Cosmo legacy, Helen Gurley Brown. Coles steps into that iconic role on September 10; White will remain at Hearst working on projects through the end of the year. All in all, the people of Twitter seem pretty excited about Coles' new move. As for the new Marie Claire editor in chief, WWD's Amy Wicks reports that Anne Fulenwider, the former executive editor of the magazine who left to helm Brides in October of 2011, will succeed Coles.