Updated: Rodale's Murphy Exiting; Maria Rodale to Succeed


Facing tough times in a challenging ad market, health and wellness publisher Rodale is replacing its outsider CEO with a family scion.

Steven Pleshette Murphy, president and CEO of Rodale Inc., is leaving the company after nine years. Maria Rodale, granddaughter of company founder J.I. Rodale and its previous chairpersons Robert Rodale and Ardath Rodale, will succeed him as CEO Sept. 1.

The company said Murphy was leaving voluntarily. The 55-year-old Murphy, who doesn’t have another job lined up, will stay on for a transition period through the end of the year.

“After a wonderful decade at Rodale, I have decided not to renew my contract and to take time off to pursue my own creative interests,” he said in a prepared statement.

Founded in 1930, Emmaus, Pa.-based Rodale has nurtured well-known health and wellness brands like Prevention, Men’s Health and Organic Gardening; as well as diet, science and lifestyle books including South Beach Diet and former vice president Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth. Major publishing companies are said to have come knocking over the years, but the family has resisted a sale.

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