Mary Berner Out as Reader’s Digest Association President/CEO

By Steve Cohn
Mary Berner

This morning (April 25), Reader’s Digest Association Holding Co. president/CEO Mary Berner (pictured) announced she was stepping down after a four-year stint.

Successor in both roles is RDA senior VP/chief financial officer (since Nov. 2008) Tom Williams (pictured). In addition, Randall Curran, who joined the RDA Holding Co. board of directors in an April 18 restructuring, was named chairman. Curran is stepping down as CEO (since 2005) of IDC^DeltaCom,  which was acquired by Earthlink Inc. in Dec. 2010.

Tom Williams

Berner’s tenure was marked by the company filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection (August 2009; emerged in February 2010) and moving the company from its historic campus in Pleasantville, N.Y., to offices in Manhattan and White Plains, N.Y. But in a statement this morning, she said the post-bankruptcy restructurings has "put the company on a path to profitable growth.  I’ve worked very closely with Tom for the past two years, and I leave the company knowing that it is in truly capable hands."

Berner is a past publisher of TV Guide (1990-1995) and Glamour (1995-1999), and she was president of Fairchild Publications from 1999-2006 when it was a separate unit under Condé Nast chairman S.I. Newhouse, Jr. She assumed her RDA roles in March 2007 as the point person in the $2.6 billion purchase by Ripplewood Holdings that took the company private. The bankruptcy led to new investors.

Pre-RDA, Williams was Affinion Group Executive VP/CFO from 2006-2008 and spent 21 years at AT&T where he rose to CFO of AT&T Networks, AT&T Customer Service, AT&T Global Networking Technology Service and AT&T Laboratories. He also replaces Berner on the RDA board.

(Related story by Folio: details RDA Holding’s financials.)