David J. Pecker
David J. Pecker became Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of American Media, Inc. (AMI) in May 1999, when along with Evercore Partners, he purchased the company. Today, AMI is the leading publisher of celebrity and health & fitness magazines including Star, National Enquirer, Shape and Men’s Fitness. The company’s holdings also include Distribution Services Inc. (DSI), the leading supermarket in-store merchandiser.
Following 9/11 on October 2001, American Media became the first U.S. company to be targeted by bio-terrorists using anthrax, and one of its employees the first casualty of this new kind of war. Despite being evacuated from its corporate headquarters, Mr. Pecker moved quickly to relocate the company’s operations and all AMI titles were published on schedule.
In November of 2002, Mr. Pecker and Evercore acquired Weider Publications Inc. the leading publisher of health & fitness magazines, including category leader Shape and Men’s Fitness. It was the latest acquisition in a 20-year career that has seen Mr. Pecker complete more than $4 Billion in magazine transactions. In April 2003, Mr. Pecker participated in the $1.5 billion recapitalization of AMI led by Evercore and Thomas H. Lee Partners.
In April 2004, Mr. Pecker re-launched Star as a 100-page glossy, the first time a tabloid was ever successfully converted to magazine format.
From 2004 to the present, Mr. Pecker oversaw unprecedented growth in AMI’s advertising, with paging for its titles up 19% over the five year period (including a 58% increase for Star) while industry totals declined 8.7% for the same period. During this time, Shape became the #1 title in the Women’s Active Lifestyle Category, Men’s Fitness was successfully re-launched, and digital platforms were developed for all the company’s brands. By adding Playboy to AMI’s stable of strong male focused titles including Men’s Fitness, Muscle & Fitness and Flex, the company now reaches an astounding number of men.
In February 2009, AMI revitalized its capital structure through a transaction with its bondholders, including Angelo, Gordon & Company and Avenue Capital Management LLC, that reduced its debt by $227 million in exchange for 95% ownership of the company. Mr. Pecker was asked to remain in his roles as Chairman, President and CEO and agreed.
Before acquiring American Media, Inc. Mr. Pecker was President and Chief Executive Officer of Hachette Filipacchi Magazines. He was appointed Chief Executive Officer in 1992, after being named President of Hachette Magazines, Inc. in September 1991. Prior to September 1990, Mr. Pecker had served as Executive Vice President, Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer for Hachette Magazines, Inc. formerly Diamandis Communications Inc.
Mr. Pecker holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Pace University and attended Pace University Graduate School of Business. In May of 1998, the university awarded him an Honorary Doctorate of Commercial Science. Mr. Pecker has been elected as a Trustee of the Pace University Board of Trustees.