Maxim editor Michael Donlevy leaves magazine

Maxim editor Michael Donlevy has left the magazine after a period of circulation decline at the Dennis-owned men’s monthly.

Donlevy took over the title at a difficult time in September last year when the sale of Maxim’s American arm meant the title lost the right to export the magazine.

The title’s sales dropped 59.6 per cent year on year for the first half of 2008, down to 43,542, despite Donlevy’s attempt to introduce a redesign and move the title away from its traditional “lads’ mag” roots.

Ben Raworth, new product development editor-in-chief at Dennis who launched digital-only title Monkey, will take charge of the magazine in his new role as editorial director of Maxim. He will continue to oversee digital magazines Imotor and Monkey.

Raworth told Press Gazette: “I will be moving a bit more quickly as men’s tastes change so rapidly no adays. There will be changes, but it’s day one so it will be gradual.”

Raworth said that Donlevy had left Dennis to go freelance, but would be working with the publisher in the future.

Maxim publisher Simon Clarke told Press Gazette: “Ben has a wealth of experience in the men’s market.

“He’s worked at Dennis on new product development and will continue the role, but we want him focusing on Maxim, which is the right thing to do – to put your most senior people onto a brand which is respected and needs the support.

“He’ll drive it forward in a similar direction we’ve been aiming, but we want to speed up that process.”

Clarke added that Donlevy had had a successfully five years at Dennis.

‘I’ve worked with him throughout that time, and he’s felt that he’s done as much work in the evolving of Maxim as he possibly can at this stage,” he said.

“From my point of view, he’s done the job that we needed him to do.

‘It’s very important that as the men’s market waits for no man, that we focus very key senior people into this brand.

“Ben has the ability and experience to continue with what we’re doing on Maxim.”

Donlevy took the helm at Maxim in September from his role as deputy editor of Men’s Fitness.

He first joined Dennis in 1995 as part of the Microscope team before moving on to become chief sub-editor of Maxim until 2001. After a period freelancing he returned to Dennis in 2004.

In May, Donlevy made the headlines when he sent an email to staff to boost morale after it was reported that the magazine sold just 24,000 copies of its April issue.

He claimed that a drop in sales was necessary to move the title away from its lads mag reputation.

In his email, he dismissed the report saying: “Trade journalists are wankers. They don’t like Dennis – never have, never will.

“So they will give us a kicking instead of reporting that Esquire sold 15,000 or Arena sold four fucking copies.”

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