Desiree RogersFormer White House social secretary Desirée Rogers has been named chief executive of Johnson Publishing Company, billed as “the world’s largest African-American owned-and-operated publishing company.” JPC publishes both Ebony and Jet magazines.
“Desirée has a proven track record of successful business leadership,” company chairman Linda Johnson Rice said in a statement. “She is a longstanding confidante and a savvy businesswoman who is committed to the strategic growth of Johnson Publishing Company. I look forward to working side by side with her as we embark upon this next phase for the company.”
Rogers, a former corporate executive and a Chicago friend of the Obama family, resigned in February from her position as the first African-American social secretary.
Rogers came under fire during her White House tenure after socialites-turned-reality-TV stars Tareq and Michaele Salahi famously crashed a state dinner.
But Rogers also clashed in the White House with senior adviser David Axelrod, according to the New York Times.
Axelrod took issue with Rogers donning luxurious clothes and jewelry for a magazine fashion spread while the country remained mired in a recession. Rogers, who is among the most glamorous figures associated with the Obama administration, got a front-row seat next to Vogue editor Anna Wintour during New York Fashion Week.
Rogers arrived at the White House with a very impressive resumé. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Wellesley College and an MBA from Harvard University. She’s also served on the boards of the Museum of Science and Industry, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois, and Northwestern Memorial Foundation.
Now, Rogers describes her new position with JPC as an “incredible opportunity.”
“I consider it an honor to help continue the 68-year legacy of such a phenomenal company and its iconic brands,” said Rogers in a statement.
Both Ebony and Jet have ramped up Washington coverage since Obama took office. Both publications joined the rotating White House press pool and petitioned for a seat in the briefing room. Senior editor Kevin Chappell has been called upon during one of Obama’s prime-time news conferences, and he interviewed first lady Michelle Obama in February.