After filing for Chapter 11 this August, Reader’s Digest Association has been working on a restructuring plan to get itself out of debt. Some of this has been the unfortunate (but par for course) shuttering of titles, like Rick Warren’s ill-fated The Purpose Driven Connection magazine.
Yesterday, editor-in-chief Peggy Northrop mentioned at the ASME luncheon that the Reader’s Digest brand would never again launch a magazine that wasn’t able to perform across different media platforms. And today, RDA continues its attempts to get back in the black, and no it doesn’t involve firing staffers. It looks like the company will be moving its staffers from its offices in Pleasantville, N.Y.
As Keith Kelly reported this morning:
“Some of the 600 employees based in [Pleasantville] will be relocated to White Plains, N.Y. But executive offices and Reader’s Digest magazine’s editorial will move to space at 750 Third Avenue that was recently vacated by S.I. Newhouse’s Condé Nast Publications.
So some editorial staffers will be going to White Plains while the corporate headquarters and other editorial staffers move to NYC to share in the same building as Condé Nast. (FishbowlNY previously reported that The Economist is also moving into that building in the second quarter of next year.) While it’s always terrible to have to pick up your life and move elsewhere for a job, relocating to New York isn’t the worst thing to happen to a magazine staff in the last, oh say, 24 hours. In terms of restructuring, this is one of the more positive moves we’ve seen in awhile, which it should be obvious by the very un-restructuring phrase in CEO Mary Berner’s letter to the staffers, “Some of you will be excited by this change…”
Berner’s full memo to RDA staffers after the jump.
Previously: Reader’s Digest Files For Ch. 11
Read More: Reader’s Digest moving to NYC –New York Post
As promised, I am sharing with you advance word that we have made decisions concerning RDA’s real estate plans for Pleasantville and Manhattan. While these plans are preliminary and are subject to Bankruptcy Court approval, we will shortly notify the Court of our request to enter into leases for two new spaces to replace our current facilities in Pleasantville and Manhattan.
These new spaces are both in highly regarded, attractive facilities with modern amenities appropriate for our businesses:
Westchester One, White Plains, Westchester, N.Y. â€“ 44 South Broadway
Grand Central Square, New York â€“ 750 Third Avenue (between 46th and 47th Streets)
Westchester One will accommodate 525 of our 650 employees and contractors currently in Pleasantville. Grand Central Square will consolidate our Manhattan offices providing office space for about 175 New York-based staff as well as 125 employees currently in Pleasantville. Both locations are close to public transportation, which will facilitate efficient movement between the two offices. In deciding on these sites, we worked very hard to balance a number of goals. We considered lease costs (given depressed markets, this is an incredibly good time to be leasing property), location and the impact on employee commutation, quality of office space, type of facility, amenities and potential for good workflow. In choosing these locations, we not only will achieve significant savings on the total rent and maintenance costs, but also, just as importantly, we will have the opportunity in these locations to set up working spaces that promote The FACE Plan cultural attributes and aspirations, including energetic interaction between teams to foster a high level of collaboration and innovation.
I recognize that, while some of you will be excited by this change, the moves will be stressful for many of you, including those who have worked at our Pleasantville headquarters for a long time. I want to acknowledge this and say that we are fully committed to doing what we can to make this transition as easy as possible for everyone, including communicating regularly with updates. Your ExCom member or department head will be getting in touch to schedule a meeting for your department to discuss plans for your team.
As always, please feel free to email me, or write to me through Dear Anonymous.