Jess Cagle, People Magazine’s Editor-in-Chief, Steps Down

Cagle spent 32 years at the company and helped launch Entertainment Weekly in 1990

Last Updated: March 13, 2019 @ 8:31 PM

Jess Cagle, the longtime editor-in-chief of People and Entertainment Weekly, is stepping down from his post.

Cagle spent 32 years at the company and helped launch Entertainment Weekly in 1990. His last day with the company is March 31, when his contract expires.

“I’ve decided it’s time to do some other things while I’m still young — or at least alive,” he wrote in a memo to his staff. “It’s also time for me to live in Los Angeles full-time under the same roof as my husband and dog.” People’s parent company Meredith has not yet announced his replacement.

The New York Post reported Wednesday that Cagle’s contract ran out and parent company Meredith did not renew it. Meredith did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday. But a rep for the company told the Post it was Cagle’s decision not to renew his contract.

During his time, People’s readership grew to more than 100 million across all platforms — the largest in its 45-year history, according to EW.

“One of the things I really wanted to do when I took over PEOPLE, which is such a daunting job, is to use the power of the magazine for good,” Cagle told the magazine. “I really wanted PEOPLE to take a stand on social issues.”

Cagle started his career at People as a reporter in 1987.

“For more than three decades — during tours of duty at People, Time, and EW — Time Inc., and now Meredith, have given me work, friends, mentors, memories, experiences, and a life that, frankly, I cannot believe is mine,” Cagle wrote in the memo. “I wish for all of you the same joy, opportunity, and fulfillment in your careers, and look forward to seeing you continue to grow and evolve these brands during this tumultuous but exciting media era.”

Read Cagle’s full memo below, as published by EW.

Dear Colleagues,

This is to let you know that I will be stepping down as Editor in Chief of Peoplewhen my contract expires on March 31. I will be around and available to help with the transition, but I’ve decided it’s time to do some other things while I’m still young — or at least alive. It’s also time for me to live in Los Angeles full-time under the same roof as my husband and dog.

A few words of gratitude to the People staff: Over the past five years I’ve watched in awe as you all came together and grew our audience to more than 100 million. You’ve brought People’s energy and humanity to every platform. You have changed lives with your compassionate stories on addiction and abuse. You changed the national conversation about gun violence with your fearless reporting. Because of you, the world knows the story of Natasha Stoynoff. Along the way we’ve had a lot of fun; last year we united the country — for a moment — by naming Idris Elba the Sexiest Man Alive. I am so proud to have been a part of all that and so much more, and so deeply grateful for your remarkable intelligence and endless hours of work, which make everything possible. It has been a privilege to work and create and debate and laugh with you every day.

I will also be leaving my role as Editorial Director of the Entertainment Group. To the Entertainment Weekly staff and Editor in Chief Henry Goldblatt: Thank you for making EW the smart, funny, singular sensation that it was always meant to be, and you’ve done it so beautifully across print, digital, radio, and video. To the staff of People en Español and Editor in Chief Armando Correa: Thank you for your tireless energy and creativity. You are a master class in how to give an audience exactly what it wants to see, hear and feel.

I started my career as a People reporter in 1987, and for more than three decades — during tours of duty at People, Time, and EW — Time Inc., and now Meredith, have given me work, friends, mentors, memories, experiences, and a life that, frankly, I cannot believe is mine. I wish for all of you the same joy, opportunity, and fulfillment in your careers, and look forward to seeing you continue to grow and evolve these brands during this tumultuous but exciting media era.

Again, thank you all… for everything,

Jess