James Wildman, UK chief executive and president of Europe at Hearst, has left the magazine publisher after four years, with industry figures expressing surprise at the news.
Wildman joined the owner of Cosmopolitan and Good Housekeeping in April 2017 from Trinity Mirror, where he had been chief revenue officer.
In September 2019 he added the European remit to his existing UK role. Following his promotion, Wildman led a restructure to bring operations in the UK, Italy, Spain and the Netherlands closer together.
Hearst has appointed Simon Horne, a former managing director of Hearst who has been a consultant for the business since last year, to take over Wildman’s responsibilities on an interim basis while it searches for a permanent replacement.
Wildman has broad experience of the commercial media sector; before Trinity Mirror, he worked at Yahoo as managing director and vice-president of sales for the UK & Ireland, and at Virgin Media’s now defunct sales house IDS as managing director.
A spokesman for US-based Hearst Magazines, part of parent company, Hearst Corporation, said in a short statement: “James Wildman has stepped down from his role as CEO of Hearst UK and president of Hearst Europe. Simon Horne has assumed the role of interim CEO and president as we conduct a search for James’ replacement.”
Wildman could not be reached for comment. Senior figures across the media industry expressed surprise at his sudden exit.
Until last year Wildman had reported to Hearst Magazines president Troy Young, who left following a story in The New York Times outlining a series of complaints by employees about bullying or harassing behaviour and sexist remarks.
Debi Chirichella, formerly the longstanding chief financial officer at Hearst, took over from Young in November.