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OUT OF THE FRYING PAN...?: Hearst Magazines chairman Cathie Black’s move from the charmed life on the 43rd floor of the Hearst Building to the gritty life of the public sector as chancellor of New York City schools gives at least one person an immediate boost: David Carey, the man who succeeded Black last July as president of the magazine division. Although Carey’s appointment was a clear signal that Black’s days at Hearst were entering their countdown, it was expected the duo would work together in a transition for at least a year and that she would serve as an adviser in his early days in a job she held for 15 years. Her sudden departure cuts a layer of bureaucracy and allows Carey to make his imprint on the magazine division that much faster. He continues to report to Hearst Corp. chief executive Frank Bennack, who said in a memo to staffers Tuesday that Carey is “up to the task.”
Yet Bennack admitted in the memo that he was surprised Black was leaving the company so soon. “Cathie’s handling of the transition with David, which admittedly, we expected to take place over a longer period of time, has been exemplary and he is ready to lead,” he wrote, going on to express admiration for Black’s “willingness to climb into the trenches.” She is expected to start her new job by the end of the year.
Black said at a press conference on Tuesday that “the change and the opportunity to make a difference is what compelled me to want this position.”
She may lack education experience, but she has qualities that could help: She has experience overseeing a magazine division that put out monthlies with relatively smaller staffs than competitors’ and tight budgets; she was also known for successfully managing a difficult-to-navigate board of directors at Hearst.
Black got a quick taste of how dramatically life will change at City Hall on Tuesday when she was asked where she sent her kids to school (boarding school in Connecticut) and about her experience with unions (“limited exposure”). Mayor Michael Bloomberg was asked why he didn’t hire someone with an education background, and why he announced her appointment without a public search. The press corps, from the get-go, seems to be licking its chops.
Meanwhile, in the media/school chancellor revolving door, outgoing schools head Joel Klein is going to News Corp. to become an executive vice president and will join the board of directors. He will report directly to Rupert Murdoch and will work on business initiatives related to education. — John Koblin