Christie Hefner's resignation as CEO of Playboy marks the end of an era. The 56-year-old has managed Playboy for two decades and was one of the first females to break through the glass ceiling that has kept many capable women out of the C-Suite.
Or, sort of. Hefner ascended into her position at the suggestion of her father, Hugh, the creator of the skin magazine and media empire.
Despite the obvious nepotism, Hefner did well during those years. She managed to buoy the magazine as it was losing its cachet while expanding Playboy into other areas such as cable television. She modernized the brand from reflecting the 1950s fantasies of Midwestern boys for wholesome-looking bad girls. And, she was a popular fixture on the corporate governance conference circuit because she not only played out the delicious ironies of her position well but gave smart, sound advice.
Critics blame Hefner for not keeping up with competitors more recently. Playboy only dumped the failing DVD market in October and has been slow to make pushes online. Stock has slipped 79 percent in the past year and Playboy reported a $5.2 million loss in the third quarter.
It's not clear who will replace Hefner although director Jerome Kern is serving as interim CEO.