Bauer Media is set to close its young women’s magazine Cleo, which was founded by Ita Buttrose 44 years ago.
According to a News Corp report Bauer Media staff are expected to be notified of the closure today, including editor-in-chief Lucy Cousins.
The move comes after the Cleo website was shut down quietly in November by the publisher, and Mumbrella understands while a February edition is expected to be released the title will no longer exist by Easter.
It is the latest move in a tumultuous few months for the publisher after the unexpected departure of CEO David Goodchild last month. Mumbrella understands interim CEO Andreas Schoo arrives in Australia next week, when the closure is likely to be announced publicly.
Helen McCabe, editor-in-chief of the Australian Women’s Weekly, announced her departure from the magazine on Wednesday, while the company is yet to appoint a new sales director after boss Tony Kendall left at the end of last year
Cleo, which is best known for its Cleo Bachelor of the Year Awards, posted a circulation decline of 20.7 per cent at the end of last year, with a circulation of 42,212. New figures are due to be released early next month.
At the end of 2013 Bauer Media combined the editorial teams for Cleo and Dolly under Lucy Cousins as it looked to cut costs as revenues from print magazines continued to decline.
Founding editor Ita Buttrose told News Corp: “The writing was on the wall once I knew they were going to start stripping stories from other publications rather than commissioning stories here in Australia.
“It’s sad; it’s like a death in the family for me, but it hadn’t been the mag the Cleo team created all those years ago for some time now.”
It’s understood the annual Cleo Bachelor of the Year contest will continue, rebranded under the Cosmopolitan umbrella. The Cleo website now redirects to the Cosmo website.
The closure is the latest magazine to be shuttered by Bauer Media. Last year the company shut down controversial lads’ mag Zoo Weekly and motoring title Top Gear, and sold off three of its motorcycle titles to boutique publisher Citrus Media.
Bauer Media also announced it had wound up its distribution company Network Services on Wednesday.
A Bauer Media spokesman declined to comment, but it is understood publisher Sebastian Kadas is currently overseas, and will return next week.
Cleo was founded by Ita Buttrose and Kerry Packer in 1972, with Buttrose editing the title until 1975 when she was appointed editor of The Australian Women’s Weekly.
Buttrose spoke about the early success of Cleo in this 2011 interview with Mumbrella’s Tim Burrowes:
The first edition of the magazine included the first ever male centrefold starring Jack Thompson. The male centrefold was later scrapped in 1985 before being reinstated in 2005.
In 1984 Lisa Wilkinson, then 21, became the youngest ever editor of the magazine.
Cleo launched its Cleo Bachelor of the Year in 1993.
It was repositioned as a fashion and beauty magazine in 2008 by editor Sarah Oakes who also scrapped the magazine’s famous sealed section.