Debi Chirichella, CFO since 2011, will assume interim president duties at Hearst, publisher of Cosmopolitan, Harper's Bazaar, Esquire and other well-known magazines.
Hearst CEO Steven Swartz announced the move in a letter Friday, one day after Troy Young resigned as president following workplace misconduct allegations reported in the New York Times, including that he had made suggestive comments about sex toys, sent pornography to a senior editor and made demeaning remarks to a junior employee.
Chirichella will "lead day-to-day operations over the days and weeks to come," said Swartz. The new president will also focus on driving digital traffic and advertising revenue while "maintaining the cultural relevance" of its struggling print brands, including Men's Health, Good Housekeeping, and Seventeen.
Hearst is in a stronger financial position than many media companies, the Times said; it has not laid off any magazine division editorial staff. "But the company, which is fighting to avoid unionization, is navigating the same financial straits as other media companies," it reported. "And the presence of a finance executive at the head of the division could point to cuts."
Young stepped down Thursday after The New York Times reported on his alleged workplace sexual harassment. He had been president of Hearst’s magazine group since 2018, before which he spent five years leading the company’s digital operations.
Chirichella's new title, according to Hearst, is magazine division executive vice president, chief financial officer and director of global operations.
Between 2004 to 2011, Chirichella served as CFO and later COO of rival publisher Condé Nast. Shortly before joining Hearst, she was CFO-COO at Prometheus Global Media, publisher of Billboard, Adweek and The Hollywood Reporter.
Chirichella, with other executives, will lead "a process of listening and discussion, so that we can together plot the course of the next stage of our magazine company’s transformation," Swartz wrote, adding that Hearst thrives on "a culture of innovation, service to our communities and above all, care and concern for each and every one of us who work here."
Those executives will include Chief Content Officer Kate Lewis, SVP of Digital Development Brian Madden, Chief Business Officer Kristen O’Hara, and Chief Data Officer Mike Smith.
Swartz also named as chief talent officer Keesha Jean-Baptiste, who he said "will continue to lead a number of initiatives to further diversify and make our magazine company a more inclusive place for all of us."