Time Inc. didn't have to look far to find a replacement for Sports Illustrated group editor Paul Fichtenbaum, who announced on Wednesday that he'll be stepping down at the end of the month after more than 26 years at the publication. Today, the company named Sports Illustrated managing editor Chris Stone as Fichtenbaum's successor, promoting him to editorial director for Sports Illustrated, Golf and SI Kids.
Like Fichtenbaum, Stone is a longtime Sports Illustrated veteran, having joined the magazine as a fact-checker in 1992. During his career there, he oversaw coverage of nearly every major sport as well as SI's Swimsuit Issue, which he helped expand from a yearly print magazine to a multi-platform brand. In 2012, he became the magazine's ninth managing editor, and since then, he's spearheaded some of its biggest editorial moments (including exclusive cover stories on NBA player Jason Collins' coming out and LeBron James' return to Cleveland) while helping to grow its digital footprint, launching new verticals like MMQB.com and SI Edge, building Time Inc.'s first dedicated video production unit and introducing live events for franchises like SI Swim and Sportsperson of the Year.
In a statement, Rich Battista, president of the Entertainment & Sports Group and video at Time Inc., said, "It is exciting to have Chris take the reins of Time Inc.'s sports brands at this time. He brings great vision to the nexus of content and the digital, social, video and experiential ecosystem. He offers a fresh perspective, and the ambition to experiment and innovate at a time when we are transforming these iconic brands into true multimedia, multi-platform businesses."
Hinting at more big announcements, Stone added, "In the coming months, we are going to roll out a series of initiatives, experiences and events that will be game-changers for our loyal consumers, while also attracting new audiences to our brands."
Stone will officially take on his new role after Fichtenbaum steps down on June 30. Fichtenbaum, who was named Adweek's Hot List Editor of the Year in 2014, doesn't have any immediate career plans, per a Time Inc. rep.