Hearst Magazines President Resigns After Allegations of Inappropriate Behavior

Troy Young to leave following a damning New York Times report

a bald man with glasses
Troy Young was named president of Hearst Magazines in 2018. Hearst Magazines

Troy Young, president of Hearst Magazines, resigned today after a damning New York Times profile detailed inappropriate workplace behavior.

Young reportedly made rude, sexually offensive jokes and fostered what employees described as a toxic culture among Hearst Magazines’ brands, including Cosmopolitan and Marie Claire, which often employed women to write about female-centric topics.

Young was named president of the company in 2018 after five years as president of Hearst Magazines Digital Media. In his prior role, he developed the company’s content management system and was credited with growing audiences across brands.

“Troy has done an outstanding job building our world-class digital business,” said CEO Steven Swartz in a statement at the time.

On Thursday, Swartz emailed the company that, effective immediately, Young would resign “in the best interest of all of us.” A spokesperson for Hearst Magazines didn’t return an additional request for comment.

Under Young’s leadership, the company did see several seismic shifts. It made additional efforts to combine its digital and print staffs, oftentimes leading to layoffs. Employees across brands voted to unionize in response. Hearst executives also reportedly killed a story about allegations against Bryan Singer that Esquire reporters were working on, which was ultimately published by The Atlantic.

In a previous wide-ranging interview with Adweek, Young declined to comment on “the editorial process,” but said executives work “in lockstep with our legal team, who we have deep respect for.”

“I regret any time that a huge amount of energy is put into something and the investment’s not realized. It is in no way reflective of our commitment to ambitious journalism,” Young continued at the time.

Cosmopolitan’s editor in chief Jessica Pels was also named in the Times article as an executive who fostered a “culture of discrimination.” Pels was named Adweek’s Publishing Editor of the Year last year.

Adweek named Young Magazine Executive of the Year in 2015 as part of its Hot List for establishing a collaborative atmosphere between the magazine’s brands and for relaunching each brand’s website.

@SaraJerde sara.jerde@adweek.com Sara Jerde is publishing editor at Adweek, where she covers traditional and digital publishers’ business models. She also oversees political coverage ahead of the 2020 election.