There are big changes afoot at Sports Illustrated. SI Group editor Paul Fichtenbaum announced Wednesday that he’s stepping down effective June 30 after 26 years with the company, and SI parent Time Inc. announced Thursday that SI managing editor Chris Stone has been named editorial director for SI, Golf and SI Kids. Here are more details from the release:
Chris Stone has been appointed Editorial Director for Time Inc.’s Sports Illustrated (SI), Golf and SI Kids, it was announced today by Rich Battista, President, Time Inc. Entertainment & Sports Group and Video. In this new role, Stone will oversee all editorial content and operations on a cross-platform basis for the three brands. He is one of the industry’s most talented and dynamic editors, emblematic of the future in media.
“It is exciting to have Chris take the reins of Time Inc.’s sports brands at this time,” said Battista. “He brings great vision to the nexus of content and the digital, social, video and experiential ecosystem. He offers a fresh perspective, and the ambition to experiment and innovate at a time when we are transforming these iconic brands into true multimedia, multi-platform businesses.”
“Chris has done a remarkable job as SI’s Managing Editor, nurturing many of Time Inc.’s best writers for the benefit of SI’s readers,” said Norm Pearlstine, Time Inc. Chief Content Officer. “I am confident Chris is more than ready to take on additional responsibility and authority.”
“We have the talent and resources to marry the best of our storytelling with a future built on the desire to be strategically bold, as we create the newest, most imaginative and original content experiences across platforms,” said Stone. “In the coming months, we are going to roll out a series of initiatives, experiences and events that will be game-changers for our loyal consumers, while also attracting new audiences to our brands. I’m excited to have a place in shaping this future.”
So it sounds like Stone is essentially stepping into Fichtenbaum’s role, overseeing all three of Time’s main sports brands. The discussion of an enhanced cross-platform experience is notable, as Stone has been involved in some ambitious and impressive efforts on the digital side, especially with the launch of Peter King’s TheMMQB.com and the interesting stories told there. He’s also championed reporting, but sometimes in unconventional ways, as with the first-person breaking news stories the magazine teamed with LeBron James and Jason Collins to write. We’ll see where SI and its associated brands go from here, and just what new approaches Stone brings to the group.