OK!’s Kent Brownridge Exits

Kent Brownridge, who came to OK! magazine five months ago to bring it to profitability, is out as its general manager. Also gone in the shakeup is Susan Toepfer, whom Brownridge installed as editor just three months ago.

The company’s chief financial officer, Vince Ohanyan, will take over as general manager. Sarah Ivens, the title’s founding editor who was replaced by Toepfer last fall, will oversee editorial operations until a permanent replacement is found.

British publisher Northern & Shell, whose launch of OK! in the U.S. three years ago was part of an explosion of the celeb weekly category, characterized Brownridge’s tenure as a successful restructuring of the company and stated that he would retain a consulting role.

Brownridge, a veteran of Wenner Media, replaced several top staffers in his short tenure at OK!, much as he did in the previous year he spent as CEO of Alpha Media Group, parent of Maxim and Blender. OK! ballooned to a rate base of 900,000 and was said to be moving toward profitability, but its ad-page growth has slowed to an increase of 23 percent in 2008 from an gain of 44 percent in 2007. In late 2008, it skipped three issues.
A company rep said the magazine cancelled the issues, because its Thursday delivery date fell on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day, not for economic reasons.