Last June, former Domino Media Group CEO Nathan Coyle was named CEO of Pride Media, Inc., the largest publisher of LGBTQ content in the U.S. with titles including Out, The Advocate, Out Traveler, Plus, CHILL and Pride. Now, less than a year later, The Hollywood Reporter has learned exclusively that Coyle will step down Thursday to helm the famed Ford Modeling Agency.
“The majority shareholder of the company chose to bring me on to work with him in developing a strategy to advance and evolve the great foundation that the Ford business has been built upon,” Coyle told THR by phone, noting that will likely include expanding the business “into new areas and new revenue streams.”
Pride Media recently brokered a three-year deal with podcasting studio Luminary “to finance, license and distribute two Advocate-branded weekly podcasts,” says Coyle, while Pride is closing a similar podcast deal with another company.
Coyle plans to build on the momentum of Ford Modeling Agency’s 2017 hiring of Christopher Michaels as chief creative officer and Kwok Chan as vice president of the U.S. women’s division (both founding members of The Society Management, the U.S. branch of Ford’s rival agency, Elite World).
“During my time at Pride, I successful recruited two of the most talked-about talents in the editorial community: Philip Picardi for Out and Zach Stafford for The Advocate [notably the first black editor-in-chief of the publication],” said Coyle, attributing the hires as a catalyst for business growth. “Online traffic has doubled across the digital properties collectively and, after many years of revenue growth being flat, Q1 revenue was up about 10 percent year over year and Q2 revenue is on the path to increase up to 50 percent year over year.”
While at Pride, Coyle was also faced with responding to mounting claims from writers, stylists, editors, photographers and others that they were owed long overdue payment for work they had done for Out. Coyle at the time said that he had looked into the outstanding payments and said it all amounted to “fraud” on the part of others who had preceded him at Pride.
Eileen and Jerry Ford co-founded the New York-based Ford Modeling Agency in 1946; the company now has offices in Los Angeles, Paris, Chicago and New York and manages more than 2,500 models. Ford Models helped launch the lucrative careers of Ali MacGraw (discovered at age 16), Candice Bergen, Lauren Hutton, Brooke Shields, Christy Turlington, Naomi Campbell and Beverly Johnson. Current clients include actors Channing Tatum and Asia Kate Dillon, who identifies as non-binary, as well as NFL star Danny Amendola and model Andreja Pejic, who was signed in 2017 as the first openly transgender model in the company’s 73-year history.
Katie Ford, daughter of Eileen and Jerry, took over from her parents in 1995 and served as CEO of Ford Modeling Agency until 2007, when the company was sold to Stone Tower Equity Partners. She is the founder and CEO of the non-profit Freedom for All, which focuses on fighting sex trafficking, debt bondage, forced labor and child labor.
John Caplan was named CEO of Ford Modeling Agency in 2007, and Nancy Chen stepped into the role in 2016.
April 18, 11:40 a.m. Updated with information on unpaid Out contributors.