CEO: Reader's Digest leaving longtime suburban HQ

AP News
Posted: Nov 18, 2009 11:12 PM

The company that publishes Reader's Digest is planning to vacate its longtime suburban headquarters, the CEO said Wednesday.

In a memo to the 650 employees at its federal-style building in Chappaqua, Reader's Digest Association CEO Mary Berner said their jobs will be moving to White Plains and New York City.

The plan is subject to approval in Bankruptcy Court, where the company filed for Chapter 11 protection for its American operations in August. In September, it said it was looking for new office space.

U.S. circulation for Reader's Digest magazine, best known for feel-good stories about American life, has dropped from 17 million in the 1970s to just over 8 million last year.

Like other magazines, it is also suffering from a recession-based advertising decline.

The Digest has been headquartered in Chappaqua since 1939, but sold the leafy, spacious property in 2004 for $59 million. It signed a lease to stay there but is using less than half the space. The new owners have proposed adding housing to the grounds.

Berner said 525 staffers will move to downtown White Plains and 125 to 750 Third Ave. in midtown Manhattan. The 175 employees already in New York City will also be consolidated at the Third Avenue address, which will be considered corporate headquarters, she said.

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Berner said both buildings are "highly regarded, attractive facilities." She said the company had considered employees' travel times in settling on the properties.

The company publishes 94 magazines and sells about 40 million books, music and video products each year. Reader's Digest magazine has 50 editions worldwide, reaching readers in 78 countries.