Of all the important tasks that Mary Berner will face when she returns to the magazine business – a decision several executives say is likely – as the next CEO at Reader’s Digest Association, one will rank near the top of the list: saying, “Thanks, little brother”.
Robert L. Berner III
That’s not to say Ms Berner is anything but an absolute get; as the former CEO of Fairchild Publications, she has experience, connections and savvy that puts most magazine executives to shame. But it’s Ripplewood Holdings that wants to install her at Reader’s Digest Association once it completes buying the company – and it’s Ripplewood Managing Director Robert L. Berner III, who can call her his big sister.
The CEO job, not incidentally, is currently occupied by Eric Schrier, the same Eric Schrier who talked up the Ripplewood acquisition on November 16. In a statement, he pronounced it a “great opportunity” for Reader’s Digest Association employees, then announced his eagerness to work with the new owners.
The same statement included Berner’s brother saying, “We look forward to working with the Reader’s Digest team.” It is unclear whether any of that work happened at Thanksgiving dinner.
Spokesmen for Reader’s Digest Association and Ripplewood both declined to comment.