Playboy Names Flanders CEO

Tod Hunter
CHICAGO — Playboy Enterprises Inc. named Southern California newspaper publisher Scott Flanders its new chief executive today, succeeding interim chief executive Jerome Kern.

"The Playboy brand represents enormous opportunity. My goal is to maximize the power of the brand in order to create additional value for Playboy's customers, employees and shareholders," Flanders said.

"This is a particularly exciting time to assume the role of CEO," Flanders said. "The evolution of the media industry and the global recession's effect on consumer spending intensify the need for a creative and effective business model. I look forward to working with Hugh Hefner and the employee team to take Playboy to the next level."

Flanders was president and chief executive of Freedom Communications Inc., an Irvine, Calif.-based media company that owns eight television stations and more than 40 daily and weekly newspapers nationwide, including the Santa Ana, Calif.-based Orange County Register.

Flanders spent more than three years in a leadership position at Freedom. As an independent director of the company, he helped stop takeover offers by making deals with two private-equity firms, allowing the company to remain under family control.

Playboy also named former Olympus Media LLC Chief Financial Officer David Chemerow nonexecutive chairman.

Playboy has suffered setbacks lately, with a cutback in the publication of its flagship magazine to 11 issues this year, personnel reductions and closing of its New York offices.