Travel + Leisure Gets Food & Wine Publisher; Timing Of 17-Year Vet’s Exit Sparks Questions


American Express Publishing named Food & Wine publisher Julie McGowan as senior vice president and publisher of Travel + Leisure yesterday, replacing Ellen Asmodeo-Giglio who “after 17 years with the company has decided to step down in order to focus on her personal endeavors and professional next steps.”

The move comes on the heels of last week’s ousting of Travel + Leisure associate publisher Robert Tramondo, all of which makes the “personal endeavors and professional next steps” wording intriguing.

The full release:

NEW YORK, July 26, 2006 — American Express Publishing Corporation President and CEO Ed Kelly has named Senior Vice President and Food & Wine Publisher Julie McGowan Senior Vice President and Publisher of Travel + Leisure, the world’s leading travel magazine, effective August 14. McGowan is succeeding Ellen Asmodeo-Giglio, who after 17 years with the company has decided to step down in order to focus on her personal endeavors and professional next steps. McGowan joins Travel + Leisure during its 35th anniversary year with record ad revenue and paging.

Kelly said: “I’m very pleased that Julie will be taking over at Travel + Leisure, where she will no doubt be able to build on the outstanding success of the number one market share leader in the travel category. A big picture strategist and brand innovator, Julie has proven herself to be a superstar at our company. When she joined Food & Wine , it was ranked third in its competitive set but Julie transformed it into today’s number one advertising leader in the epicurean set. She has nearly doubled the magazine’s ad pages and tripled its ad revenue by developing inventive brand platforms that have resulted in compelling opportunities for Food & Wine’s partners. Julie’s successful track record and leadership make her the obvious choice for this new role.”

“I am grateful to Ellen for taking Travel + Leisure to remarkable heights,” Kelly continued. “We have spoken about her desire to move on, and I respect her decision to add a little more leisure to her travel as she charts her next chapter. With unwavering determination, she has led a talented and passionate team that has achieved record-breaking success for this company’s flagship brand and its many powerful extensions, including six international editions, plus our growing franchise Travel + Leisure Family .”

Travel + Leisure is experiencing a more than 12 percent increase in advertising pages, year-to-date through August, according to MIN. According to ABC (December ’05), the magazine maintains its circulation leadership at 957,849, the largest circulation of any title in the travel set.

“The Travel + Leisure opportunity is thrilling,” said McGowan. “I’m eager to join its very successful business team and am delighted about partnering with the uber-talented [editor-in-chief] Nancy Novogrod. To say I’m grateful to my Food & Wine colleagues would be a gross understatement. Beginning with [editor-in-chief] Dana Cowin, whose smart and stylish vision for the magazine set the stage for its amazing trajectory, to the brains and hearts of my sales and marketing colleagues, it has been a decade-long privilege to work with these exceptional individuals.”

Under McGowan’s leadership at Food & Wine, the magazine surpassed Gourmet and Bon Appetit in ad pages in 2003 and has remained the ad page leader ever since. The publication continues to achieve significant growth in advertising pages, revenue, and readership. Paging is up 8.5 percent, year-to-date through August, according to MIN. According to MRI’s Spring Study, Food & Wine boasts its largest audience in its 27-year history, with 6.6 million readers.

McGowan joined Food & Wine as vice president and publisher in 1995 and was promoted to senior vice president in 2000. Before joining the company, she was advertising director of The New Yorker and founding publisher of Family Life, then published by Wenner Media. Prior to that, McGowan spent ten years with Condé Nast Publications, serving as advertising director of Details, beauty and grooming manager at Condé Nast Traveler, beauty market manager at Self and a sales representative for corporate sales. She began her career as a sales representative at Parade.

Asmodeo-Giglio served as publisher of Travel + Leisure since 2000. Previously, she was vice president of marketing and travel advertising director. Asmodeo-Giglio was travel manager at Travel + Leisure’s sister publication Departures, and was senior account supervisor of Travel + Leisure. Before joining American Express Publishing Corporation, she worked at The Travel Channel and various advertising agencies, including Lord, Geller, Federico Einstein Advertising.