Primedia turns Folio over to Lewis

Group editorial director adding to his duties

NEW YORK — A month after Primedia dismantled its Media Central Group, the last remains of its unsuccessful collaboration with Steve Brill, amid layoffs that included the editor-in-chief of Folio magazine, the company has named a new topper at the publication.

Geoff Lewis, who joined Primedia in 2001 as group editorial director for the Financial Services Group, will add to his duties the job left by Cable Neuhaus, the former editor of the magazine about magazines. He will also inherit a supervisory role at Circulation Management. At Primedia Lewis has been involved with revamping the Financial Services publications Registered Rep, National Real Estate Investor, Trusts & Estates and Retail Traffic (formerly Shopping Center World).

To some extent his relaunching expertise will be put to use at Folio, where he is expected to steer the mag more toward the business side of the magazine industry and away from the editorial focus that Neuhaus favored.

“What’s important to our readers is not the kind of stuff that they can read on (the New York Post’s) Page Six,” Lewis said. “What’s important is the kind of stuff that tells them how to advance their careers, how to run their businesses better, who’s doing well and why.”

Yet he insists new direction does not mean a new magazine. “This isn’t another redo of the magazine,” he said. (Folio was redesigned last year.) “The magazine has a great look and feel and has become much more lively, and those are things we wouldn’t tinker with.”

One of Lewis’ first tasks will be hiring. Through layoffs and departures, the current staff is down to three. “There are slots to fill,” he said. “Though I don’t know the actual tally.”

Staff realignment has become the Primedia way as the company sells assets and slims down in an effort to reduce its $1.77 billion in debt. That effort has been more aggressive since former Primedia chairman-CEO Tom Rogers, who resisted dismemberment, was ousted in April over differences with the company’s controlling shareholder Kohlberg, Kravis Roberts.

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