Joanna Coles appointed as the first chief content officer for Hearst Magazines
Coles had been editor-in-chief of Hearst Magazines’ flagship brand Cosmopolitan since 2012, as well as editorial director of Seventeen since 2014
NEW YORK, NY – September 6, 2016 – Hearst Magazines today announced that Joanna Coles has been appointed chief content officer, a new executive role within the media company. Coles had been editor-in-chief of Hearst Magazines’ flagship brand Cosmopolitan since 2012, as well as editorial director of Seventeen since 2014. The announcement was made by Hearst President and CEO Steven R. Swartz and Hearst Magazines President David Carey. Coles will continue to report to Carey, and will begin in her new role immediately.
“Joanna has terrific editorial and business acumen and has emerged as a strong leader during her 10 years at Hearst, both within the organization and the media community,” Swartz said. “She is an innovator who operates at every level and an ideal addition to our leadership team.”
“This is a truly dynamic moment for magazine media, and the opportunities are endless,” Coles said.“Joanna is a powerhouse modern editor—she has strengthened the thought-leadership of Cosmopolitan and established deep relationships with major players in advertising, technology, entertainment and government,” Carey said. “She has a creative, curious mind and her boundless energy will be an integral part of all we do, as we forge an even closer connection between our U.S. and international media businesses.”
As chief content officer, Coles will work closely with Hearst Magazines’ editors in the U.S. and globally. She will lead new magazine development activities, and spearhead efforts to extend Hearst brands into television, live events, and other new businesses. Coles will continue to collaborate with the rapidly expanding digital media division and with the publishing side on the creation of new advertising products. She will also join forces with Hearst Magazines-owned digital marketing agency iCrossing on its branded content and marketing innovation initiatives, and oversee consumer research, books, and the centralized team in New York supporting Hearst’s international editions.
“I’m excited to work alongside the extremely talented teams across the company to come up with new businesses and brands, new collaborations and partnerships, and new ways to engage our audiences around the world.”
Under Coles’ leadership, Cosmopolitan, the world’s largest women’s media brand, experienced a resurgence. According to MPA’s Magazine Media 360 Brand Audience Report, Cosmopolitan’s reach increased to 32.1 million in 2015, making it one of the top 10 performers of all magazine brands for the year and the only women’s media brand in the category.
During her tenure, Coles expanded Cosmopolitan’s sphere of influence by featuring substantive coverage of women’s issues, health, politics and career, amongst the predominantly relationship-focused pages, to better reflect the lives of contemporary young women. Coles partnered with Facebook COO and Lean In author Sheryl Sandberg to launch Cosmo Careers, and later with Snapchat for the launch of its Discover platform, on which Cosmopolitan is a top performer.
In 2014, Coles created a live, annual conference series titled “Fun Fearless Life.” A spin-off of the franchise, “Fun Fearless Money,” debuts September 24 in New York. Coles also co-developed and serves as executive producer for two television projects: Issues, a scripted drama with Freeform based on her life as an editor, and So Cosmo, a docu-series produced by Bunim/Murray Productions for E!
Coles joined Hearst in 2006 as editor-in-chief of Marie Claire, where she transformed the brand, pushing the editorial direction, boosting both circulation and revenue. She orchestrated Marie Claire’s partnership with Lifetime’s Emmy-winning show Project Runway, and served as the on-air mentor on the series Project Runway All-Stars. Additionally, Coles co-created, starred in, and executive produced Style Network’s docu-series Running in Heels.
The British-born editor arrived in the U.S. in 1997 as the New York bureau chief for The Guardian, before moving on to become the New York columnist for The Times of London, and a frequent contributor to the BBC.
During her tenure at Hearst Magazines, Coles has won numerous prestigious awards for journalism and media leadership. She was recently described by The New York Times as “one of the most powerful people in media.”
Coles sits on the board of directors of Snapchat, as well as the board of Women Entrepreneurs New York City, an initiative to expand female entrepreneurship, with a special focus on underserved women and communities. She is currently writing a book with HarperCollins on relationships in the digital age. Coles lives in Manhattan with her husband and two sons.