More Rodale Execs Leave

Ad sales prez Gregg Michaelson latest in string of departures

It’s been another tough week for Rodale. It’s had a string of talent exit lately, and now another top executive, Gregg Michaelson, has left the health and fitness publisher.

Also leaving was Karen Rinaldi, evp and gm of Rodale Books, after three years with the company. The company said she would leave Oct. 7 as part of a restructuring of the department.

In an email to staff, CEO Maria Rodale acknowledged the many leader departures and said a new reporting structure for Michaelson's group would be outlined at a board meeting today.

"I realize that this news, along with other recent announcements, makes it feel as though there are lots of changes going on at Rodale," she wrote. "There are . . . to an extent. But as a company committed to renewal and growth, change is an essential part of our company's heritage."

Rodale went on to write that the company would "continue to assert [its] position as the global leader of the health and wellness mission." She said that in the coming weeks, she would share more about the structure and her vision for Rodale's future.

Michaelson was the president of integrated marketing and sales and chief marketing officer, a position he’s held since 2009. He started at the company’s book division in 2001 before moving to circulation and digital roles. He was a curious choice for his present role, given he didn’t have an ad sales background.

Michaelson’s role got still bigger in 2010, when he added oversight for Rodale Digital, business intelligence, and audience development. His new reports were Sean Nolan, vp, gm, Rodale Digital; John McCarthy, svp, circulation and audience development; and Todd Leiser, svp, business intelligence.

The company has been suffering quite a brain drain since Maria Rodale took over as CEO of her family’s company two years ago. The company has been under pressure to sell over the years, but Maria Rodale has made it clear the family wouldn’t sell under her watch.

Ken Citron, CTO and CIO, was among the latest to go. Other executives have been scooped up by Hearst and Reader’s Digest Association, or left with no particular destination.

Rodale has also filled some positions, although at lower levels, at two of its titles. It recently hired Laura Frerer-Schmidt away from Condé Nast’s Self to be publisher of Women’s Health; and Tim Koorbusch from Felix Dennis’ The Week as associate publisher of Men’s Health.

As for filling Rinaldi's void at Rodale Books, Stephen Perrine will become acting publisher, reporting to David Zinczenko, evp and Men's Health editor.

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