Joanna Coles Leaving Hearst Chief Content Officer Role

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Joanna Coles

'The Bold Type's' inspiration is leaving after a new president of Hearst Magazines was appointed.

Hearst is losing one of its most well-known faces: Chief content officer Joanna Coles is leaving the publishing company.

She handed in her resignation to Hearst president and CEO Steve Swartz “in recent days” and was negotiating an exit package Friday, The New York Post reported. On Monday, Coles announced the news on Twitter that her "route is being recalculated. It's time for a new adventure. I'm going to take some time off, play some tennis. I've threatened to talk to my teenaged children; they remain unmoved by that. And I will have some news in the fall, but for now, I'm switching the treadmill desk off." 

Coles previously served as editor-in-chief of women's magazines Cosmopolitan and Marie Claire before taking on the role overseeing all Hearst publications. Her life inspired the Freeform TV show The Bold Type, about three women navigating their work at a glossy magazine that resembles Cosmo. She’s also credited as an executive producer on the pilot episode (Melora Hardin plays magazine boss Jacqueline Carlyle on the show). In addition to appearing as a mentor on Project Runway All Stars, Coles appeared as herself on So Cosmo, about her work as the face of the magazine. 

The timing of her resignation seems more than coincidental — Hearst just promoted Troy Young to president of the magazine division about a week ago. The Post reports that after the announcement, Coles was “irked,” choosing not to attend the ceremony and instead cancelling meetings to fly to Los Angeles. Previously head of the digital unit, Troy told The Post after his promotion that “nothing has been decided” about Coles' future.

“Joanna is an innovator, a connector and an inspired editor,” Hearst said in a statement to The New York Times on Monday. “She’s made the decision to start a new adventure and we thank her for her creativity and many contributions and wish her the very best.”

Her departure follows a trend of tremendous upheaval in the publishing industry in recent months, especially among senior level talent. At Conde Nast, Graydon Carter left Vanity Fair and Cindi Leive left Glamour at the end of 2017. Although there had been rumors that Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour would also be leaving her post, those were seemingly put to rest earlier this week.

It’s possible Coles is leaving to pursue more work in Hollywood. (She's listed as the producer of the TV movie Guilty Pleasures, written by Kimberly Karp and Erin Simon.) Coles could also be writing another book; she released Love Rules: How to Find a Real Relationship in a Digital World in April. Her news in the fall could be related to The Bold Type, as Coles tagged both the show and Freeform in the post.

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