For one to watch, David Carey certainly has done a lot already. Before taking the reins at Hearst in 2010, the publishing impresario and magazine mogul was group president at Condé Nast, where he was one of the shining stars of 4 Times Square. A member of that company’s senior management team, Mr. Carey also oversaw media properties targeted to business and executive audiences, including Wired and Golf Digest. During his lengthy career, he served for seven years as vice president and publisher of The New Yorker, returning the beloved institution to profitability after 18 years of losses. He also led the launch of Portfolio and portfolio.com and was the founding publisher of SmartMoney, at the time a joint venture between Hearst and The Wall Street Journal, which reached profitability after two years and was named “Magazine of the Year” by Advertising Age. Among other honors, Carey was named industry “Executive of the Year” by Adweek. Suffice it to say, Mr. Carey has been around the block a couple times.
Yet he wasn’t content to sit pretty at Condé Nast, despite rumors that he would be tapped to replace CEO Chuck Townsend. In 2010, Mr. Carey caused major ripples in the media world when he left Condé Nast to become head of the magazine division at Hearst. During his two years there, he has put a spring back in its step, widening Hearst’s reach by acquiring more than 100 new magazines in 14 countries, developing HGTV Magazine, creating the interactive learning center and media lab Hearst App Lab, and a whole lot more.
While Hearst was once a distant third to Time and Condé Nast, the venerable institution has weathered the recession better than either, and looks poised to become the industry leader, with the company’s titles proving nimble at adapting to the vicissitudes of today’s dynamic new media climate and leading other brands in e-reading and the creation of new content platforms. Once a company known for playing it safe—the suburban housewife to Condé Nast’s glam urban fashionista—Mr. Carey’s Hearst is a more ambitious, aggressive and entrepreneurial company than it ever has been. And Mr. Carey is nothing if not optimistic about Hearst’s future. “[T]he future of magazines will happen here first,” he says on the Hearst website. Call us crazy, but we can’t help but believe him.