People magazine has new editor in chief

It’s a changing of the guard at People magazine: Jess Cagle is stepping down as editor in chief, and will be replaced by the publication’s deputy editor, Dan Wakeford.

Meredith Corporation, People’s parent company, announced Wakeford’s promotion Thursday. Cagle revealed his departure in a memo to staff Wednesday. He will also be stepping down from his role as editorial director of Meredith’s entertainment group. His last day will be March 31, and Wakeford will assume his role as editor in chief on April 1.

“I’m honored to lead the most trusted entertainment brand in the world and continue the tradition of smart and exciting storytelling,” Wakeford said in a statement. “I can’t wait to build on this legendary brand’s success, and share PEOPLE with audiences everywhere.”

The leadership change was first reported by the New York Times.

Cagle is a veteran at the magazine who started as a reporter at People in 1987 and then helped launched Entertainment Weekly in 1990. He returned to People in 2003 and left again in 2009. In 2014, Cagle became editor in chief of People, replacing Larry Hackett.

“I’ve decided it’s time to do some other things while I’m still young — or at least alive,” Cagle, 53, said in Wednesday’s memo. “It’s also time for me to live in Los Angeles full-time under the same roof as my husband and dog.” Cagle runs People magazine from New York City.

Wakeford, meanwhile, has had a long career in celebrity journalism, previously serving as editor in chief of In Touch Weekly. He has been People’s deputy editor since 2015.

Meredith took control of People, as well as other notable titles like Time and Sports Illustrated, when it bought Time Inc. for $2.8 billion in 2017. Last year, Meredith said it intends to sell both Sports Illustrated and Money. Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff bought Time Magazine from Meredith last year for $190 million.

In a memo on Thursday, Bruce Gersh, the president of People, Entertainment Weekly and People en Español, hailed Wakeford as the “ideal choice to lead Meredith’s most profitable brand.”