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Christie Hefner    

Former Chairwoman and Chief Executive Officer of Playboy Enterprises

She joined Playboy in 1975 and worked in a variety of the Company's businesses before being named president in 1982. In 1988, she was elected to her present position of Chairman and CEO with the New York Stock Exchange-listed international media and entertainment company.

During her tenure, Hefner has restructured operations and initiated the Company's highly successful electronic and international expansion. Through licensees, the Company offers a wide range of Playboy-branded apparel and lifestyle products in more than 100 countries. She also extended Playboy's influence worldwide by forming alliances with international partners that now produce and distribute 18 foreign editions of Playboy magazine, from Taiwan to Russia.

Under Hefner's direction, the Company has significantly expanded its television business from the launch of its branded channel in 1982, which made Playboy the first magazine brand to be successfully leveraged into television. Today, the Company's channels are available in approximately 130 million U.S. cable and DTH household units and its programming reaches more than 70 countries throughout Europe, Asia and Latin America.

Continuing the Company's electronic expansion, Hefner in 1994 led the Company onto the Internet when Playboy became the first national magazine on the World Wide Web. Playboy.com--which is made up of original content as well as repurposed content from the magazine and television--is a multiple revenue business with subscription sites, e-commerce, advertising and online gaming. It has since grown into one of the most popular online destinations for men and is the Company's fastest-growing profit center.

Besides directing Playboy Enterprises' operations, Hefner is active in a number of local and national organizations. She was the first woman elected to the Chicago chapter of the Young Presidents' Organization. Hefner helped found the Committee of 200, an international organization of preeminent women business owners and executives. She serves on the boards of the Magazine Publishers Association, the Business Committee for the Arts, Canyon Ranch Health Resort, The Committee of 200 Foundation, and on the board of governors of the Museum of Television & Radio Media Center. Hefner is also on the Advisory Boards of the American Civil Liberties Union and The Creative Coalition, and a member of The Chicago Council on Foreign Relations and the National Cable & Telecommunications Association's Diversity Committee. She also spent four years as project board chairman for the CORE Center, raising $30 million to build this innovative clinic and research facility, which opened in Chicago in the summer of 1998. The CORE Center conducts clinical research and provides prevention education and outpatient care for people with HIV/AIDS and other communicable diseases.

As the first woman to receive the Executive Leadership Award from the National Society of Fundraising Executives, Hefner has been honored with a Humanitarian Award from the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, the Spirit of Life Award from the City of Hope and the Corporate Leadership Award from the AIDS Pastoral Care Network. She also has been recognized by the International Platform Association, an organization involved in the promotion of ideas and opinions through public forums, which presented her with the 1990 Eleanor Roosevelt Award, for her commitment to human rights and civil liberties in the tradition of the former first lady and long-time IPA member. She was inducted into the Women's Business Development Center Hall of Fame in 1991, for opening doors and building opportunities for all women entrepreneurs. In 2002, she received the Committee of 200"s Philanthropic Innovator Luminary Award and the National Cable & Telecommunications Association"s Vanguard Award for Distinguished Leadership, the cable industry's highest honor, for her longstanding commitment to the First Amendment rights of cable programmers and operators and for her strong advocacy of workplace diversity. In 2003, she received the University of Illinois at Chicago's Family Business Council's Leadership Award, bearing an inscription recognizing her "vision, determination and courage in refocusing, diversifying and ultimately ensuring the future of an American icon, leading Playboy into the new millennium."

Hefner is chairman of the board of Hatch Beauty and served on the board of the D.C. based Center for American Progress Action Fund, a progressive public policy think tank. Philanthropy

She created the Hugh M. Hefner First Amendment Award in honor of her father, and has helped to raise millions to build the CORE Center in Chicago, the first outpatient facility in the Midwest for people with AIDS.

Hefner was born in Chicago in 1952. Elected to Phi Beta Kappa in her junior year of college, Hefner graduated from Brandeis University summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and American literature in 1974. She became a President's Councilor of her alma mater in 1978. She is married to real estate developer and attorney William A. Marovitz, a former Illinois state senator.

Videos


Speech Topics


Leading Through Tough Times

As president and CEO, Christie Hefner reshaped the organization several times -- from the legendary print publication to the first national magazine on the World Wide Web into a multifaceted global media and licensing empire. When Hefner joined the company in the 70’s, she never expected the move to result in a 30-year career. She worked her way up through the ranks and in 1982 was named president, taking over when the business faced serious financial difficulties. Her innovative leadership in the Digital Age transformed the business into a multi-billion dollar corporation by building teams, forging partnerships and recognizing new opportunities. Named by Forbes Magazine as one of the “100 Most Powerful Women” her ability to develop a company of leaders drove the renewed growth and expansion plans resulting in her tenure as the longest-serving female CEOs of any publicly traded company.

From Brand to Icon

Playboy's rabbit head is one of the best-known and most beloved corporate logos in the world. But when Christie Hefner took over the company, the archly sophisticated rabbit with the snappy bow tie was seen on everything from the company’s luxurious corporate jet to taxicab deodorizers. Thanks to her savvy and unsentimental management, Hefner succeeded in repositioning the Playboy brand as a global symbol of the good life.

In this witty, down-to-earth look at the challenges and rewards of brand management in the 21st century, Hefner talks about extending a brand in the virtual world, defending against global counterfeiters, choosing trustworthy licensing partners and other lessons learned in her decades as the chief steward of the Playboy brand.

Dads and Dynasties: The Challenges of Running a Family Business

Family businesses outperform other companies. Hear the facts behind the phenomenon as well as understand how loyalty and a passion for the business fuel this feat. Christie Hefner shares personal insights into the family succession plan and transfer of leadership. Audiences will learn how this family business resulted in Hefner’s very successful tenure at the helm of Playboy.

The Only Woman at the Table

When Christie Hefner joined Playboy in 1975, the company was widely viewed as the last bastion of unrepentant male chauvinism. By 2009, when Hefner stepped down after 20 years as chairman and CEO, Playboy had a well-earned reputation as a female-friendly workplace, and the rabbit head logo was worn proudly by millions of women around the world. Throughout her career at Playboy, Hefner was known as an outspoken supporter and proponent of women in business and was particularly focused on helping other women gain access to the "C" suite. Today, Hefner looks back on the challenges (and occasional advantages) of being a woman in the corporate world. From her early years as a top executive?when a male visitor to company headquarters mistook her for an administrative assistant?to her innovative leadership of Playboy in the Digital Age, Hefner brings a unique, real-world perspective to the issues facing businesswomen in the 21st Century. She speaks candidly about the major obstacles facing women in business today and offers thoughtful, practical suggestions on the best ways for corporate executives to offer talented women employees the opportunities they deserve.

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