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Memo Pad: Gone, But Not Forgotten… Break Out The Knoll Chairs

Another chapter in the drama that is Bonnie Fuller's career is coming to a close.

Bonnie Fuller

Bonnie Fuller

Photo By WWD Staff

GONE, BUT NOT FORGOTTEN: Another chapter in the drama that is Bonnie Fuller's career is coming to a close. The tabloid queen gave up her throne at American Media Inc. on Tuesday, stepping down from her post as executive vice president, chief editorial director after five years. The company said that, as of today, Fuller will be an editor at large at Star and a consultant to AMI chief executive officer David Pecker. Her job — one that netted Fuller a much-discussed $2 million a year plus benefits and perks — will not be filled. The editor had another year left on her contract, which was renegotiated in April 2006.

While conspiracy theorists will no doubt have a field day as to the reasons the overtly ambitious Fuller gave in, she insisted the decision to leave was hers and that she had been mulling over quitting for a few weeks. "I felt like I want to go and pursue a new adventure and a new venture," she told WWD. An AMI spokesman confirmed "the decision to resign was Bonnie Fuller's. It was driven by her view that she had accomplished many of the things she has set out to do when she joined AMI in 2003." Fuller also stressed she has a good working relationship with Pecker.

Fuller at one time was known as an innovator who had her pulse on the tastes and desires of American women. After editing Cosmopolitan, Glamour and Marie Claire, Jann Wenner hired her in 2002 to become editor in chief of Us Weekly, which she successfully reinvented (with much Sturm und Drang among staff) and made into a picture-driven glossy to take on category leader People. "She absolutely gets the credit for changing the game in the celebrity category. Even People owes it to her," said one former colleague.

However, Fuller — who's known for getting itchy feet after a while — left Us in July 2003 just as suddenly as her announcement Wednesday afternoon — AMI's Pecker poached her with a huge salary package to reinvent the down-market Star into a slick newsstand friendly glossy. But while the strategy worked once at Us, it didn't quite click at Star in the face of a People revival and continued growth of Us under Fuller acolyte Janice Min. Fuller's diva-dom wasn't quite as tolerated in the AMI hallways, and a job that initially was billed as having editorial oversight over all of the company's weekly tabloid titles essentially shrank to managing Star. According to Audit Bureau of Circulations, single copy sales at Star have slid to around 700,000 from 920,000 in 2004.
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