The CEO and publisher of a suite of glossy lifestyle magazines will leave the position this month, a little more than a year after taking the role following a high-profile departure of the original publisher amid allegations of sexual harassment.
Andrea King said she’s leaving State 23 Media, the publisher of Maine Home + Design and Maine magazines, to move back to Newfoundland, Canada with her family. She has accepted a job with “a financial tech company.” She will remain the owner of Aristelle, an Old Port underwear boutique.
The announcement ends an eventful tenure for King, who sought to stabilize the brand after Kevin Thomas, Maine Media Collective’s original founder, CEO and publisher, left the company in May 2018 over a sexual harassment accusation from a former employee. State 23 Media LLC was founded in June of 2018 to acquire Maine Media Collective and its assets.
She joined the company as chief operations officer in October of 2016 and was promoted to CEO and publisher in early 2018, as Thomas began to step away from the company while reporters began to investigate allegations of sexual harassment and workplace misconduct. Many former employees had signed non-disclosure agreements that prevented them from discussing their experiences at the company. Thomas officially left the company on May 1.
King said that Maine Magazine employees completed a harassment prevention training and a separate communications training within the past year. She was the recipient of a Top Women in Media award from Folio, a publishing industry trade journal.
The investor group State 23 Media LLC was formed by Sandy Spaulding, president of Falmouth’s Sea Glass Capitol Advisors, with a cohort of businesspeople based in Boston, New York, Atlanta, and Sydney, Australia. A lead investor, Adam Japko of Esteem Media, left the group in December, selling his shares to the others. Spaulding and Bruce Hallett, president and CEO of Stuart Dean Co. and former president of Sports Illustrated and Time magazines, will serve as co-CEOs.
Spaulding said he took on a more active role in January to rebuild community relationships and “make positive operational changes.”
“While I can’t compare her style to the past ownership, I know Andrea has been a great leader in a difficult situation and she will be missed,” Spaulding said.
Orion Poulin, who has worked for State 23 Media for a year as head of business development, will take over as publisher.
Kevin Thomas founded Maine Home & Design in 2006. He purchased the magazine Port City Life from publisher Laurie Hyndman in 2009, relaunching it as Maine later that year.
State 23 Media had 23 employees at the time of the sale in June of 2018, when the company immediately rehired all but three Maine Media Collective employees who had been laid off when the company dissolved. Spaulding said the company had “16 or 17” employees today.
Spaulding said he has no plans to sell the titles. The company still publishes Ageless Maine, a newer title aimed at baby boomers. The monthly Old Port magazine has been discontinued.
“We love Maine and are doing our small part to tell Maine stories,” he said.
If you or someone you know needs resources or support related to sexual violence, contact the Maine Coalition Against Sexual Assault’s 24/7 hotline at 800-871-7741.