Desiree Rogers named CEO of Johnson Publishing Co.

Former White House Social Secretary Desiree Rogers has been named CEO of Johnson Publishing Co. which publishes Jet and Ebony Magazines.

Linda Johnson, the daughter of the late founder of Johnson Publishing Co. has stepped down as CEO but will remain as chairman.

Rogers named CEO of Johnson Publishing, parent of Ebony magazine

BY SANDRA GUY sguy@suntimes.com

Desiree Rogers, former White House social secretary and Illinois Lottery director, has been named chief executive officer of Johnson Publishing Company, the Chicago-based publisher of Ebony and JET magazines, the company announced today.

Rogers had been working as a consultant to the company since June 5.

Linda Johnson Rice, daughter of the company’s founder who held the title, will remain as chairman.

“Desiree has a proven track record of successful business leadership,” Rice said in a statement.

Rogers will oversee day-to-day operations and be responsible for aligning core business strategies for all of the company’s brands.

Rogers said in a statement, “I consider it an honor to help continue the 68-year legacy of such a phenomenal company and its iconic brands.”

Johnson Publishing, beset by falling advertising revenues, recently started a management reshuffling, beginning with the June 3 announcement that the company is no longer for sale and the hiring that same day of Amy DuBois Barnett as the new editor in chief of Ebony magazine.

On July 13, the company announced that its president and chief operating officer, Anne Sempowski Ward, had resigned.

Desiree Rogers stepped down from her previous position as White House Social Secretary in February of this year after the White House gatecrashing incident back in 2009 involving Real Housewives of D.C. couple Michaele and Tareq Salahi. In June she was hired as a consultant for Johnson Publishing Co.

I’ve been a longtime subscriber to both Jet and Ebony.  In the past few months it looks like they’ve been trying to make some changes for the better. Jet and Ebony like other magazines are suffering from declining revenue. Competition from online magazines, blogs and news sites don’t help matters either.

It will be interesting to see how long Ms. Rogers will stay at Johnson Publishing.  If she does stay for a while, one thing she needs to look at is the online content for Jet and Ebony Magazine.  Both sites need some serious revamping.   Black Web 2.0 has some interesting advice for black magazines facing declining ad revenue and a drop in subscribers.  Even though Johnson Publishing isn’t on the market the last piece of advice that Black Web 2.0 mentions is very important.

5. Embrace Digital

The online space is where a majority of people go to get their information. Build up your web properties (your corporate web site, Facebook fan pages, Twitter account, Tumblr, etc.), and make them world class. Cash in on the explosion of interest in tablet devices like the iPad and Kindle and create digital magazines. Advertisers are flooding the mobile market so build your business toward them.

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