Maxim lures Rolling Stone's Needham as editor-in-chief
LONDON - Dennis Publishing has poached Ed Needham, managing editor of Rolling Stone, to become editor-in-chief of Maxim US after he quit the American music bible following an uneasy relationship with its chief executive Jann Wenner.
Needham will replace Keith Blanchard, who will become the chief creative executive for television, film and radio projects at Maxim's parent company Dennis Publishing USA.
Needham was the former editor of Emap's FHM in the UK and also founding editor of the US edition. He was poached from Emap by Wenner Media in 2002 to inject some of the energy and success from the lads' magazine sector into the music magazine.
Needham was widely reported to have had an uneasy relationship with Wenner, owner and chief executive of Wenner Media, which publishes Rolling Stone. Wenner was apparently uneasy to let go of the magazine's editorial legacy, despite being aware of the ability of newer magazines to attract young readers with shorter articles and busier layouts.
According to Needham: "My two years at Rolling Stone have been an incomparable experience. I'm looking forward to shaping the next chapter in one of America's most influential and iconic magazines."
Wenner Media has said that it is surprised by the move and is currently drawing up a list of candidates to replace Needham, expected to be announced in the next two weeks.
Andy Clerkson, editorial director at Dennis Publishing USA, said: "Put simply, Ed Needham is one of the best magazine editors in the world. Over the last decade, he has spearheaded two hugely successful magazines that have connected with young male readers on a massive basis. It is our good fortune to have Ed's unique talent and finger-on-the pulse sensibilities leading Maxim."
Maxim launched in the US in 1997 and has notched up sales of 2.5m in the States, borrowing the racy lads' approach of UK titles.
However, although it is one of the stronger magazines in the US market, advertising pages were down 12% in the first half of this year compared with the same period last year.
Needham spent eight years at Emap and was promoted to editor of FHM in 1997 after three years on the title as a section editor and feature writer. During the two years he was editor of the UK edition, Needham was credited with building it into the biggest monthly magazine in the UK. After a year as editor, FHM's circulation grew 76% to 644,000. Similar success with the US edition followed.
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