Dan Wakeford Replaces Jess Cagle as People Magazine Editor-in-Chief

Wakeford, who has been with the magazine since 2015, takes over the top post April 1 after serving in a similar capacity at weeklies Life & Style and In Touch.
Courtesy of Subject

Just a day after news broke that Jess Cagle would be departing People as the magazine's editor-in-chief, parent company Meredith Corporation has announced that there's a new man for the job. 

Dan Wakeford is taking the top job at the weekly and will assume his new post April 1. He has been with People since 2015, most recently serving as deputy editor under Cagle. It won't be his first editor-in-chief title. He previously had that on business cards during a run at Life & Style and In Touch, sister publications that now fall under the AMI banner. Wakeford, a Brit, moved from the United Kingdom in 2002 after creating a pop culture magazine called Heat in London.

In a press release announcing his promotion, Wakeford said he's "honored" to lead the brand and to continue the tradition of telling "smart and exciting" stories. "I can't wait to build on this legendary brand's success and share People with audiences everywhere," he said.

The same release cited his work experience over the past four years at People, giving him credit for "all human-interest, service and royals content for the brand, and he has led breaking news coverage from school shootings to celebrity weddings across multiple platforms." He is also said to have split his time editing the magazine with overseeing 11 of People's digital verticals and developing business with spinoff projects such as crime series People Magazine Investigates: Cults on Investigation Discovery and two royals documentaries on ABC.

"An experienced and trusted journalist with entertainment and creative storytelling expertise, Dan is a forward-thinking executive and a brand builder with a clear vision for People today and in the future," said Bruce Gersh, president of People. "Dan's impeccable track record of shaping the editorial direction and content strategy for some of the largest brands makes him the ideal choice to lead Meredith's most profitable brand."

In a memo sent to staff, Gersh also announced that as part of the appointment news, he would be doing a bit of reorg by having Entertainment Weekly editor-in-chief Henry Goldblatt and People en Espanol editor-in-chief Armando Correa reporting to him. They previously reported to Cagle. 

Read Gersh's full staff memo below.

I'm delighted to announce that Dan Wakeford has been promoted to editor-in-chief of People, effective April 1. Dan has served as People's deputy editor since joining the brand in 2015. He succeeds Jess Cagle and will report to me. As part of this news, Entertainment Weekly editor-in-chief Henry Goldblatt and People en Espanol editor-in-chief Armando Correa will also report to me, beginning April 1.

An experienced and trusted journalist with entertainment and creative storytelling expertise, Dan is a forward-thinking executive and a brand builder with a clear vision for People today and in the future. He has a sharp understanding of the zeitgeist and is a master storyteller who specializes in cover creation and multiplatform content. Dan has an impeccable track record for shaping the editorial direction and content strategy for some of the largest names in media, and that makes him the ideal choice to lead Meredith's most profitable brand. As the No. 1 source for delivering trusted celebrity and human interest journalism, People reaches an audience of 100 million. Reaching one in two American women People produces a weekly magazine, multiple special issues and books, video, and hundreds of pieces of digital content every week, including multiple television shows, a live daily web series and a People OTT network.

Dan has been responsible for all human-interest, service and royals content for People. Dan has also had oversight of the People brand verticals, and long-form series, including three seasons of the successful crime series People Magazine Investigates, two seasons of the spinoff People Magazine Investigates: Cults on Investigation Discovery, and two high-profile documentaries on the royals for ABC. Dan continues to push the People brand editorial and new business initiatives, including People Health, and the accolade programs, Companies that Care.

Dan said: "I'm honored to lead the most trusted entertainment brand in the world and continue the tradition of smart and exciting storytelling. I can't wait to build on this legendary brand's success, and share People with audiences everywhere."

Please join me in congratulating Dan on his new and well-earned elevated role.

Best,

Bruce