Has Playboy Enterprises finally found someone to permanently take the reins of the faltering company?
The Wall Street Journal has reported that the adult entertainment company is most likely going to offer its top spot to Scott Flanders, president and CEO of Irvine, Calif-based media company Freedom Communications.
Since Hef’s daughter Christine Hefner stepped down as CEO of Playboy in December the company has been under the guidance of board member Jerome Kern. But even radical changes to the print model announced by Kern last month couldn’t stem rumors that Playboy was looking for a buyer. (Last week, Virgin Group denied rumors that Richard Branson was in talks to buy Playboy.) The company, which cut 80 jobs in October, has been struggling this year, reporting print and digital revenue declines in the first quarter and predicting additional drops for Q2.
Perhaps bringing in an outsider like Flanders could be exactly the kind of infusion the company needs to survive, although even WSJ was quick to point out the possible deal may fall through. Flanders formerly served as chairman and CEO of mail order music retailer Columbia House, where he helped terminate a merger of the company and CDNow that had been in the works when he came on board in 1999. In 2005, BMG bought Columbia House and Stuart Goldfarb, then president and CEO of BMG Direct, took over leadership of the acquired company. Flanders was appointed to the top spot at Freedom in January 2006.