The day after it named a new CEO, Time Inc. has ended another extended leadership search. Real Simple announced Thursday that Sally Preston would be its next publisher, ending a four-month process.
The major women’s lifestyle monthly has been hunting for a publisher since Evelyn Webster, executive vice president of the Lifestyle Group, moved Kevin White off the title in July to sister pub Health. Preston’s hire was in the works for a while, but was delayed by her previous employment at Real Simple rival Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, where she left in November as part of a leadership shakeup.
Webster said she interviewed some 20 candidates in and outside Time Inc. before settling on Preston. She said Preston’s Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia experience equipped her to help Real Simple grow its footprint by way of digital, events, and products.
Like many women’s magazines that rely heavily on food advertising, Real Simple saw its ad pages decline this year, falling 5.5 percent to 1,551, although it still had the most ad pages of similar magazines, according to Min. Martha Stewart Living was down 6.1 percent, to 1,080. O, The Oprah Magazine, was off 6.2 percent to 1,359.
“Real Simple has done incredibly well from a print and digital perspective,” Webster told Adweek. “The opportunity I see is to accelerate the growth we’ve enjoyed in recent years. Digital and tablet are high up there, but it’s also expanding the Real Simple brand footprint. [Preston] is ideal because she has that print expertise but has experience well beyond print.”
Preston is set to start Jan. 3 and will report to Webster.