Top Sales Executive Leaves Rodale in Shakeup

Maria Rodale reorganizes health, fitness publisher

Rodale’s top sales executive and onetime rising star Mary Murcko is exiting Rodale in a big shakeup at the health and fitness publisher.

A string of top executives have left the company since CEO Maria Rodale took over her family’s company two years ago. Just weeks ago, ad sales president Gregg Michaelson exited as president of integrated marketing and sales and CMO.

Maria Rodale recently acknowledged there was confusion and concern caused by the recent managerial departures, including Michaelson’s. In an Oct. 3 memo to all employees, she wrote that the current structure was “unsustainable” and that significant changes were needed.

Today’s moves seemed designed to address those issues.

In a follow-up memo to employees Thursday, Maria Rodale announced the creation of a new general manager structure that she said would make the company more transparent and accountable, and better serve its customers at a time when they're faced with more choices than before.

"This has been an incredibly challenging year for the company and for the world," she wrote. "But it has been transformative as well. As we look at the new landscape around us, I believe that what we offer our customers with our mission, our product, and our brands is more essential than ever."

The departures were received with surprise outside the company. “Between Gregg Michaelson and now Mary Murcko, I’m not sure I understand who’s leading this company,” one media buyer said. “The two people who had the leadership and vision are gone.”

Taking over most of Murcko's duties is group publisher Chris Lambiase, who was named publishing director at Rodale, with the company’s publishers reporting to him.

Also coming out ahead in the new world order are David Zinczenko and David Willey, who will be leading two of three new units into which Maria Rodale divided the company’s properties.

One is Healthy Living, including Men’s Health, Women’s Health, and Prevention. That group will be overseen by Zinczenko, who's also editor in chief of Men's Health.

Willey will oversee an Active Living group consisting of Runner’s World, Bicycling, and Running Times.

The third unit is a Digital/New Brand Development group. A search is underway for a general manager to run it.