Billboard Adds Chart-Topping Staffers

BillboardLogoThe sweeping hand of Janice Min is at it again. In a memo to staff, the Guggenheim Media Entertainment Group co-president and chief creative officer announced an impressive roster of Billboard hires.

Starting today, Rob Hewitt is the publication’s new design director. He comes to Billboard after three years with Conde Nast Traveler. Hewitt once worked with Min at InStyle and has also held positions at Premiere, GQ and New York magazine.

Joining Hewitt as Billboard art director is Frank Augugliaro, previously with Esquire, alongside several recognizable new reporter and editor names. It’s great for example to see Frank DiGiacomo back in the front-line entertainment journalism mix.

Full memo after the jump.

Dear Staff:

I’m thrilled to introduce you to some new faces today that are already here or soon to be arriving at Billboard.

I’ll start with some significant and immediate changes to the art and photo departments.

Rob Hewitt will be joining Billboard effective Tuesday as design director. Rob joins Billboard after three years as design director at Conde Nast Traveler, where he was responsible for the design direction of the print version and award-winning digital publication. Prior to Traveler, Rob ran a successful studio where he art-directed clients including Play: The New York Times Sports Magazine and Key: The New York Times Real Estate Magazine, Garden & Gun and Hemispheres. Over the past 14 years, Rob also has held art director and design positions at Premiere, GQ and New York magazine. And a long, long time ago, Rob, The Hollywood Reporter‘s Peter Cury and I all worked together at InStyle, where we all first met while launching — yes — a weddings magazine. Rob will be reporting into Hollywood Reporter/Billboard creative director Shanti Marlar, and can answer all your pressing bouquet questions (not really).

Frank Augugliaro is joining as art director, reporting to Rob. Frank comes to us from Esquire, where he was the deputy art director. He was responsible for designing front-of-book and feature stories, with a focus on larger packages and Esquire‘s “Men at His Best” sections. Before Esquire, Frank freelanced at a variety of places, including Harper’s Bazaar, Rizzoli Books, Club Monaco and Art House Productions.

Carrie Lam is joining as designer. Carrie comes to us from the design studio Nick+Cambell, where she was responsible for designing graphics for social media platforms and websites. Carrie also has been a freelance designer at Glamour, T: The New York Times Style Magazine and W magazine.

Samantha Xu is joining as photo editor at Billboard. Samantha previously worked at Hearst Digital, Guitar World, Revolver and Entertainment Weekly. She will be reporting directly to Jennifer Laski and Jenny Sargent.

We also have some fantastic additions among our editor ranks that I’d like to share with you.

Degen Pener, culture editor of The Hollywood Reporter, adds to his duties by assuming the same role at Billboard. As many of you are aware, Degen has been an essential leader in shaping The Hollywood Reporter‘s distinctive style and lifestyle coverage, which now encompasses fashion, luxury, real estate, automotive, beauty and art. Among his many contributions, he has overseen the Watches special issue, the Most Influential Interior Designers issue and the launch of Pret a Reporter. Before joining THR, he was the editor-in-chief of Modern Luxury’s Angeleno magazine and previously worked at Santa Barbara, InStyle, Details, Elle and Entertainment Weekly. He was a founding columnist of the New York Times Styles section and got his start as a fact checker at New York magazine. He’s from Kansas City and lives in West Hollywood. Thanks to Degen, you can already see in the current Billboard a fashion story about designer money clips, from a $600 Bottega Veneta version to a $5,000 one from Neil Lane.

Eileen Daspin joins Billboard as a lifestyle/business journalist and magazine editor who reports on a broad range of subjects. She has been an editor at ThomsonReuters, Time, W, The Wall Street Journal, Conde Nast Portfolio, the New York Post and American Lawyer. She is the author of The Manhattan Diet, about the fitness and eating habits of New York women, and co-author of a number of cookbooks, including Diary of a Tuscan Chef and Le Bernardin: Four-Star Simplicity. Eileen won a National Magazine Award while at Portfolio for its “Briefs” section. Fun fact: At Portfolio, the designer on Eileen’s section was Peter Cury.

Frank DiGiacomo joins Billboard beginning today. Frank has worked as a contributing editor at Vanity Fair, where he profiled Sheryl Crow and John Mellencamp, and, as he says, “smoked a really good cigar with Eels frontman Mark Oliver Everett.” Prior to that, he was editor at large at the New York Observer, where he edited the pop-music section and profiled Leonard Cohen. He also has edited and written for the New York Daily News, Page Six and His musical tastes are broad and range from Springsteen to Pere Ubu to Blood Orange. A native of Youngstown, Ohio, he is currently enjoying Warpaint and Future Islands’ new albums and learning to appreciate Miley Cyrus.

Carson Griffith joins Billboard, having previously worked at the New York Daily News for three-and-a-half years as a gossip columnist (two of which she worked under Frank DiGiacomo). Upon her departure in early 2013, she was a senior editor. She also has written regularly for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and The Hollywood Reporter and serves as a contributing editor to Town & Country, with a monthly column in the magazine called “Social Network.” She’s originally from Marblehead, Mass. In the current issue of Billboard, you’ll see Carson’s first contributions, from a story about a music industry Black Card, meant to emulate the Amex status symbol, and Vfiles, the hot Soho boutique where Rihanna, Miley Cyrus and Katy Perry get their looks.

Finally, amid all this change, I also would like to take a moment to thank both Andrew Horton and Andrew Ryan from the design team for their tireless work on the Billboard redesign and excellent partnership through the transition. I hope you will all wish them well in their new endeavors. I, for one, am grateful for the work they did in moving forward the Billboard brand already.


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