Linda Johnson Rice to take over CEO role at Ebony once again

Linda Johnson Rice will take the reins at Ebony magazine once again.

Johnson Rice was named CEO of Ebony Media Operations entity on Thursday, according to Crain’s Chicago Business. The company publishes Ebony and Jet magazines, both online and in print.

Ebony and Jet have for decades been among the most respected publications on African American culture in the U.S. Johnson Rice will replace Cheryl McKissack, who left the Chicago-based company last week.

Johnson Rice’s father founded the magazine company and she served as its CEO until 2010 when White House social secretary Desiree Rogers took over the magazines as CEO of Johnson Publishing.

Johnson Rice remained chairman emeritus of Ebony Media Holdings, even after selling a majority stake last year to the Austin-based CVG Group. McKissack took over the role of CEO of Ebony Media Operations last June in conjunction with the sale.

The publications struggled to generate revenue as they company evolved into a digitally-driven entity. The publisher reduced its headcount by 17 percent in 2014 and downsized its headquarters to one floor, per Crain’s.

In 2015, Johnson Publishing moved its iconic Jet Magazine to a digital-only publication.

McKissack “did a really great job during the transition,” Johnson Rice told Crain’s in an interview. “We’ve gotten to the point where we just decided to make a change.”

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