New chief for George

Money's ex-topper Lalli takes charge of political glossy

NEW YORK — Just four months after the death of George magazine founder and editor-in-chief John F. Kennedy Jr., Hachette Filipacchi CEO Jack Kliger has named former Money magazine topper Frank Lalli as topper of the political glossy.

Kliger offered the job to Lalli two days after Hachette purchased Kennedy’s half ownership stake in George from the late founder’s estate (Daily Variety, Oct. 28).

“I took home a big stack of them and discovered that George is a lot better then it has ever been given credit for,” Lalli told Daily Variety. “Its mission is very clear and quite positive: to reveal who has political clout, how they got it and what they plan to do with it.”

In his eight-year run as the top man at Money, Lalli raised the profile and influence of the magazine in political circles, landing interviews with President Clinton, Vice President Al Gore and Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan. He has testified three different times in front of congressional committees as an expert witness on governmental affairs.

Since leaving Money in 1997, Lalli has served as a senior exec editor at Time Inc. and launched Lalli Enterprises, an editorial consulting company.

It has been a tough year for George above and beyond Kennedy’s loss. While October’s Kennedy tribute issue was one of the most successful in the magazine’s four-year history, overall it has dropped 28% in the number of ad pages and 18% in revenue compared with last year.

Lalli acknowledges that the numbers will need to improve, but he does not intend any large-scale changes at the magazine. “If I thought I had to rip out the staples and start over again, I would not have taken the job,” said Lalli.

Lalli, who started Monday, will report to Hachette Filipacchi Magazines editorial director Jean Luis Ginibre.