Sylvia Auton returns to head up IPC Media again

Evelyn Webster, chief executive of IPC Media, is to step down from her post after 18 months in the job to be replaced by her predecessor.

Webster (above right) will leave the role in January, ending her 18-year association with IPC to move to the US and become executive vice president of parent company Time Inc’s lifestyle division.

She will be replaced at IPC Media, owner of NME, Marie Claire and Woman’s Own, by Sylvia Auton (above left), who previously held the chief executive role and remains chairman of the UK magazine publisher. In effect, the pair will swap jobs.

Auton, who was promoted to executive vice president of Time Inc in February 2007, continued in her role as chief executive until Webster, who was than managing director of IPC’s women’s magazines, took over in January last year.

Webster said: “I am thrilled to have been offered the opportunity to join Time Inc’s senior team as EVP of the Lifestyle Division…I know IPC has a great future, and in Sylvia, I couldn’t be handing it back to a better leader.”

Joint circulation of IPC Media’s stable of titles held up reasonably well in the first half of this year however the company suffered some heavy losses on core titles as it reported circulation figures for 26 of the more than 75 magazins it publishes.

According to the figures released last week by the Audit Bureau of Circulations, the average joint monthly circulation of IPC’s titles in the six months to the end of June was 5,738,111, down 3.3 per cent year on year.

Of the 26 brand circulations which were audited last week, 11 posted double-digit declines in their year-on-year circulation.

There were notable successes. The company’s Essentials magazine posted a 12.9 per cent rise on its 2009 first-half performance while 25 Beautiful Homes, Ideal Homes and Country Homes and Interiors all scored strong single-digit circulation increases.

These increases contrasted starkly to the fortunes of several of IPC’s most recognisable titles.

Lad’s magazine Loaded recorded a fall in circulation of 26.3 per cent year on year to a monthly average of 53,591.

Circulation of Nuts dropped 22 per cent year-on-year to a weekly average of 147,134, and NME suffered a year-on-year sales slump of 17.3 per cent, taking it to an average of 33,875 in the period.

Women’s title Marie Claire also suffered a drop in circulation to 280,021, a fall of 1.9 per cent year on year.

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