Hearst Magazines' Chairman Cathie Black Becomes NYC Schools Chancellor

Mayor Michael Bloomberg calls her 'a superstar manager;' she wants to build on predecessor's work.

NEW YORK - Hearst Magazines chairwoman and former USA Today publisher Cathie Black is the city's new Schools Chancellor.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced her appointment Tuesday afternoon. She replaces Joel Klein, who will join media and entertainment giant News Corp. (link to earlier story), and becomes the first woman in the post.

“Cathie Black is a superstar manager who has succeeded in spectacular [fashion] in the private sector," Bloomberg said. "She is brilliant, she is innovative, she is driven—and there is virtually nobody who knows more about the needs of the 21st century workforce, for which we need to prepare our kids.”

A statement said Bloomberg selected Black to follow Klein "because of her unique experience building on successes and leading teams to even greater achievements."

It cited her leadership of Hearst Magazines for the last decade and a half. She is also widely credited with building USA Today into a success story in her eight years there. In 1979, she became the first publisher of a weekly consumer magazine, New York.

“Our schools are vastly better than they were just eight years ago when the mayor took office and Chancellor Klein joined his Administration," said Black. "Their passion for improving the educational opportunities of our students has lifted the bar higher than anyone could ever have imagined, and my main goal will be to build on the work that has been accomplished during the Bloomberg Administration, and Chancellor Klein’s tenure."

Frank Bennack Jr., vice chairman and CEO of Hearst, highlighted her major contributions in an announcement to Hearst staff. "As someone who had the privilege of hiring her twice, first at the Newspaper Association of America and then at Hearst, I'm keenly aware of her willingness to take on new and significant challenges," he said. "Cathie therefore goes with my blessing. However, not only will Hearst miss her, so too will I personally."

Black had been president of Hearst Magazines for 15 years. This summer, the company hired David Carey from Conde Nast to take on that role, and she moved into the chairwoman position.

"Cathie joins me in the belief that David Carey and the rest of the fine management team at Hearst Magazines are up to the task of moving that important part of our business forward in the months and years ahead," Bennack said. "Cathie’s handling of the transition with David, which admittedly we expected to take place over a longer period of time, has been exemplary and he is ready to lead."

Her departure is expected to be sometime before year's end.