TRADITIONALLY, A NOTE FROM THE PUBLISHER of PEOPLE occupies this space. But this week the spotlight is on PEOPLE’S publisher—two of them, in fact—so I am pleased to fill in here to tell you about them.
Elizabeth P. (Lisa) Valk, who has been at our business-side helm since 1988, is moving over to our sister publication TIME. Taking her place will be Ann Moore, who as founding publisher of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED FOR KIDS successfully launched one of the liveliest new kids on the publishing block.
Valk’s rise within Time Inc. Magazines has been as quick as her exuberant smile. A North Carolinian from Winston-Salem, she has degrees from Virginia’s Hollins College and Harvard business school. She joined TIME’s circulation staff in 1979 and seven years later was appointed publisher of LIFE—the first female publisher in the company’s history. During Valk’s 2½ years at PEOPLE, the magazine reached its high in circulation guaranteed to advertisers (3.15 million) and this year became the industry leader in advertising revenue. “PEOPLE was an opportunity I found incredibly fulfilling and satisfying,” says Valk. “It’s still only a teenager [17 years old], and for me, moving on to TIME, the grande dame , is a big switch.” The grande dame’s gain is our loss; Valk’s savvy leadership and personal warmth will be greatly missed.
Happily, we are blessed with a worthy successor who will feel right at home at PEOPLE. As it happens, Moore and Valk have been crisscrossing each other’s paths for years, and they have much in common. Both are 41, both grew up in the South, have Harvard MBAs and both are trying mightily to master the game of golf.
Moore was raised in McLean, Va., the eldest of five children of Air Force pilot Monty Sommovigo and his wife, Bea. A sports buff from the day in 1960 when her father presented her with a basketball hoop, the 5’5″ Moore had her own subscription to SPORTS ILLUSTRATED while an undergrad at Vanderbilt University. “I knew of only one other woman at the school who subscribed,” she remembers. “Both of our subscriptions came addressed to Mr.” Recruited from Harvard to join Time Inc. in 1978, she started out in corporate finance and hopscotched to SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, FORTUNE, MONEY and DISCOVER before returning to SI. Moore gets so immersed in her job that she was almost the last to know of her new PEOPLE post. Cheerfully involved in an “SI FOR KIDS Day” at the Time-Life Building and surrounded by 200 children of staffers, she was not available to return the official phone call for hours.
Moore herself has one child, Brendan, 6½. Along with her son and her husband, Donovan, she lives in a landmark brownstone in Brooklyn Heights. Since Donovan was a television producer (20/20) and screenwriter until he recently turned to commodities trading, movie buff Ann is well grounded in the entertainment world. And one attraction of her new post is mingling with Hollywood personalities. Of course, she got to meet some celebrities while at SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, counting among her friends basketball greats Julius Erving and John Havlicek and Olympic track gold medalist Jackie Joyner-Kersee, her guest at this year’s Super Bowl in Tampa. “The only thing I’m going to miss is Barcelona,” says Moore a bit wistfully of losing the chance to attend next summer’s Olympics.
As Valk can tell her, there will be compensations. In 1989 Lisa went to the opera with Princess Diana. So welcome aboard, Ann. And hang on to your Barcelona reservations too. We’ve got some PEOPLE stories we want to do there.