NEW YORK (Reuters) - Christie Hefner plans to step down next year as chairman and chief executive of Playboy Enterprises Inc after two decades on the job, the adult entertainment company said on Monday.
Shares of Playboy rose 14 percent in morning trading after Hefner, 56, daughter of Playboy founder Hugh Hefner, said she would relinquish her role as CEO on January 31. She will stay on the company’s board until a new CEO joins Playboy, which publishes one of the world’s best-known adult magazines.
“Last month marked my 20th anniversary as CEO; just as this country is embracing change in the form of new leadership, I have decided that now is the time to make changes in my own life as well,” Hefner said in a statement.
Like many magazine and newspaper publishers, Playboy has a brand name that is more widely known than read. Circulation has fallen as more people looking for adult entertainment and racier pictures of nude women turn to free sites online.
The company in October said it would take steps to save $12 million a year, including eliminating its DVD business.
Jerome Kern will serve as interim non-executive chairman, while the company searches for a replacement. Kern, president of Kern Consulting LLC and former CEO of On Command Corp, joined Playboy’s board in 2002.
Playboy shares rose 26 cents to $2.01 on Monday, and climbed to $2.04 during the session. The stock has tumbled nearly 80 percent this year.
Reporting by Franklin Paul; Editing by Steve Orlofsky and Gunna Dickson