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Now, after a three-month search, Rodale has tapped a new editor in chief for the women’s title: Michele Promaulayko, who was most recently executive editor of Cosmopolitan. Promaulayko worked for eight years as the number-two to Cosmo editor in chief Kate White, and oversaw several of the brand’s spin-offs. She edited Cosmopolitan Style & Beauty, a special issue dedicated to fashion and beauty, and edited this year’s book, “Cosmo’s Sexiest Beauty Secrets,” and edited “Cosmo’s Guide to Red-Hot Sex.”
“An editor of Michele’s caliber enables Women’s Health to go head-to-head with the biggest women’s magazines in the business,” said Zinczenko. Incidentally, Men’s Health has shown its affection for the Cosmo brand in the past, having shared editorial content on relationship issues and advice, and completed joint studies about the behavior of their young male and female readers.
“I call working for Kate the best editor in chief boot camp on the planet,” said Promaulayko who was also one of the founding editors of Teen People. “She’s incredibly fun but incredibly talented.”
She takes over the magazine after a three-year period of rapid growth. Through the first half of 2008, circulation of Women’s Health has grown to 1.1 million, a 45 percent growth over the same period in 2007, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations. Its newsstand sales have grown 11 percent, to an average of 307,000 (for comparison, Self sold 331,000 copies on average for the first six months of the year; Cosmo sold 1.7 million copies). Women’s Health’s rate base will increase to 1.35 million with the January/February 2009 issue; the magazine also publishes 12 international editions. Meanwhile, ad pages for the magazine grew 12.5 percent to 727 in 2008 despite the recession.
After founding editor in chief Tina Johnson left Women’s Health in August, Zinczenko took over editorial responsibility, changing the layout and starting to use celebrities on the cover beginning with October’s cover subject, Elizabeth Banks. That issue sold 340,000 copies, or 82,000 more than the same one in 2007. While concrete editorial plans won’t be put forth until Promaulayko takes up her new post after the holidays, she foresees a continued emphasis on fashion and beauty.
— Stephanie D. Smith