As Hearst-Hachette Deal Closes, Robin Domeniconi Lands Corporate Role

Esquire's O'Malley takes over as Elle brand chief

With Hearst just completing its deal with Hachette Filipacchi Media deal, the big question mark was where Robin Domeniconi would land. As chief brand officer for Elle, a position Hachette created in 2009, she oversaw not only Elle but Elle Decor, the editors of those titles, and their digital ad sales and brand extensions, including Elle's sizable licensing deal with Kohl's. Hearst’s publishing executives (or chief revenue officers, as they were rechristened earlier this year by Hearst Magazines president David Carey) aren’t used to having that much power; for one thing, they don’t have editors reporting to them.

Domeniconi is said to have turned down the job of Elle publisher, leaving Carey to try to figure out a way to keep her. "She has no interest in being a publisher," one of those confidants said. But what that position would be wasn't clear. While one idea might be to make her a group publisher, Hearst doesn’t have such a role. There's also no senior-level vacancy she could step into.

Today, the answer came: Hearst announced that Domeniconi would move into a corporate role at Hearst, where she would focus on business and strategic development. 

Along with that news, Hearst said it would install Kevin O'Malley, currently vp, publisher for Esquire, as svp, publisher, and chief revenue officer of Elle. Kevin Martinez, who has been publisher of Elle since July 2010, will stay on as associate publisher, seemingly a downgrade.

O'Malley has overseen strong ad growth during his eight-year tenure at Esquire, which most recently showed an 11 percent increase this year through May. With editor David Granger, he's developed a variety of brand extensions and offbeat cover treatments, from a furniture line to Esquire's electronic cover of 2008. His replacement at Esquire is expected to be named shortly.

As for speculation that one of Hearst’s fashion editors was about to be replaced, insiders have been quick to play down the focus of that rumor, Harper’s Bazaar’s Glenda Bailey. Bazaar just got a new publisher in Carol Smith, the longtime Elle honcho who returned to the magazine world after a brief stint at Condé Nast, and it’s unusual for Hearst to shake up an editor and publisher at the same time. (Smith, though she doesn’t officially start until June, was in the building last week attending a publishers’ meeting.) “It’s not really the Hearst way,” commented one insider.

For now it seems like the status quo will prevail; Carey has called out Bazaar as an example of Hearst’s international prowess and for its Net-A-Porter deal, and Bailey has been visible at company gatherings—she was seen last week at a talk at the Hearst Tower by HBO co-president Richard Plepler. Some answers should be forthcoming on Wednesday when Carey is set to meet with Hearst's editors.