Today on Business Rockstars, Ken Rutkowski talks with the CEO of Playboy, Scott Flanders. The first CEO of Playboy outside the Hefner family, he has extensive experience in the media, entertainment and technology industries.
On July 1, 2009, Scott N. Flanders became chief executive officer of Playboy Enterprises, Inc. (PEI), a media and lifestyle company that markets the world-renowned Playboy brand through a wide range of media properties and licensing initiatives. He also serves as a member of the board of directors for the company. Flanders is responsible for PEI’s strategic direction and global business operations, which include print, online, television and licensing.
After 40 years as a NYSE public company, Playboy founder Hugh Hefner and Flanders partnered to take PEI private with Rizvi Traverse in a transaction that closed March 4, 2011.
Prior to joining Playboy, Flanders spent three years as chief executive officer of Freedom Communications. He oversaw Freedom’s newspapers, television stations and interactive media businesses, a portfolio with annual revenues totaling nearly $1 billion. Flanders served as an independent director on Freedom’s board for five years before joining the company as CEO. During his board tenure, Freedom recapitalized with two private equity firms, The Blackstone Group and Providence Equity Partners.
As chairman and chief executive officer of the Columbia House Company, a position he held from 1999 to 2005, Flanders oversaw the world’s oldest and largest direct marketer of music and video products, with revenues totaling more than $1 billion. At the request of the board, Flanders facilitated a leveraged buyout of Columbia House by The Blackstone Group. Columbia House was later sold to Bertelsmann in a transaction that closed in July 2005.
After beginning his career as a tax and business consultant with PWC, Flanders spent 14 years with Macmillan Publishing working in four of the company’s operating units. He rose to president of Macmillan USA in 1993 and established the company as the largest computer book publisher, the first publisher of books about the internet and the first publisher to sell books online.
A board member of eHealth, Inc. (NASDAQ: EHTH), Flanders also serves as president of the board of visitors of the Maurer School of Law at Indiana University. His civic activities include serving on the board of trustees of the Orange County Museum of Art in Newport Beach.
He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from the University of Colorado, and he received a Juris Doctor from Maurer School of Law at Indiana University. Flanders is also a C.P.A.