Johnson Publishing names new CEO
African-American focused Johnson Publishing Company has named a new chief executive officer, according to the publisher
Former White House social secretary Desirée Rogers begins in her new role after consulting with Johnson Publishing and her close friend Linda Johnson Rice, chairwoman and former CEO, since June.
“She is a longstanding confidant and a savvy businesswoman who is committed to the strategic growth of Johnson Publishing Company,” Rice said in a company release. “I look forward to working side by side with her as we embark upon this next phase for the company.”
Rice will remain with the Chicago-based publisher as chairwoman.
Previously, Rogers served as director of the Illinois Lottery; president of Chicago-based natural gas utilities Peoples Gas and North Shores Gas; and president of social networking at Allstate Financial. She has no publishing industry experience.
Through Ebony and Jet magazines; makeup line Fashion Fair Cosmetics and traveling fashion show Ebony Fashion Fair, Johnson Publishing Company is the world’s largest African-American owned and operated publishing company.
In her new position, Rogers is tasked with Johnson Publishing Company
’s day-to-day operations and aligning its brands’ core business strategies.
The new hire told the Chicago Sun Times
that she will expand Ebony and Jet magazines’ licensing and Web site presences and grow the Fashion Fair cosmetics line. The publisher has licenses for sunglasses and greeting cards, but Rogers want to pursue additional agreements for books, television shows and online stores that can sell Ebony's and Jet’s archival material.
She also wants to expand Ebony and Jet’s popular features online and create social communities around them.
Rogers faces a tough task as Jet and Ebony have struggled along with the entire print industry. Jet’s circulation dropped 11.7 percent in 2009 from 2008 and Ebony’s circulation declined 9.7 during the same period. Jet’s revenue also dropped 29 percent in that time frame, while Ebony’s decreased 24 percent.
Rogers has brought on former co-worker Rodrigo Sierra as senior vice president and chief marketing officer to help with her efforts. They worked together for eight years at Peoples Gas in its public affairs department.
“We are pleased to have Rodrigo join the leadership team at Johnson Publishing,” Rogers said in a statement. “Rodrigo and I have worked together over the years in previous roles and I am confident that his deep and broad experience in communications, media and corporate branding will serve him well in his new role.”
Sierra is now tasked with directing Johnson Publishing’s internal and external corporate image; public relations; brand management; research; digital and social media strategy.
He brings about 25 years of experience in high-profile corporate, media, government and regulatory positions to his new position.
Rogers and Sierra’s appointments come about two months after President and Chief Operating Officer Anne Sempowki Ward resigned from Johnson Publishing. The company named Amy DuBois Barnett editor-in-chief of Ebony June 3.
According to The List database, Johnson Publishing Company conducts its media initiatives in-house.
The Nielsen Company reported that Johnson Publishing Company spent $230,000 on measured media in 2009, almost all of which went towards national magazine ads.