Playboy names president, will keep print magazine
By Robert MacMillan
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Playboy Enterprises Inc on Tuesday named an 11-year veteran of the adult entertainment company as president, while its chief executive vowed to keep printing its namesake magazine.
Alex Vaickus will serve as the company's president, a new position, and will oversee all of its businesses including print, television and digital media, Playboy said in a statement.
He will report to Playboy Chief Executive Scott Flanders, who joined the company earlier this year from Freedom Communications, publisher of U.S. newspapers including the Orange County Register in California.
Vaickus joined Playboy in 1998 as a vice president of strategic planning. He later became president of Playboy's global licensing business, which helps the company make money from its Bunny Ears logo and other aspects of the adult entertainment magazine's storied history.
Before Playboy, Vaickus was a vice president at ConAgra and held several jobs at Sara Lee Corp.
Playboy also named Scott Stephen as executive vice president of Playboy's print and digital group.
Flanders will remain involved in the company's operations, but will focus on a "strategic repositioning" of the company as well as "business model changes across every segment of our business," he told Reuters in an interview.
He declined to say what these changes would be, but said that the company likely would announce some of them before the end of the year. They do not include closing Playboy magazine's print edition, he said.
"Over my dead body will we quit producing the magazine in print," Flanders said.
Flanders' comments come a day after Conde Nast said it would stop publishing Gourmet magazine and several other titles after consulting firm McKinsey & Co recommended ways to cut costs.
Conde Nast, which publishes The New Yorker, Vogue, Wired and Vanity Fair, among other magazines, is suffering along with Playboy and other magazine publishers including Time Warner Inc from sharp declines in advertising revenue.
Some magazine and newspaper owners are cutting their print editions and trying to keep the titles alive on the Internet, a place where more people are getting news and entertainment.
Playboy's circulation has fallen with the rest, dropping 9 percent as of the end of June 2009 from the year before, according to figures released by the Audit Bureau of Circulations.
The magazine's photos of nude women and interviews with authors, actors and other celebrities are admired by fans and longtime subscribers, but similar material is available for free online, forcing Playboy to look for more revenue sources.
It also has cut jobs to narrow its costs and losses, and at the beginning of the year said it would be "willing to listen" to offers to buy the company.
Playboy shares were down 5 cents or 1.7 percent at $2.83 on the New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday afternoon, off an earlier high at $2.97.
(Reporting by Robert MacMillan; Editing by Derek Caney and Matthew Lewis)