Newport Beach Independent parent company Firebrand Media LLC, which also publishes Newport Beach magazine and other local, regional and national publications, named Christopher Schulz to be its new group magazine division publisher, the company announced this week.
Schulz, 55, previously worked eight years as group publisher for Freedom Communications’ magazine division, where he published Coast, a luxury lifestyle magazine, and a portfolio of regional and custom magazines.
In his new role, Schulz will oversee a portfolio of Firebrand magazines and digital products serving the lifestyle, tourism and travel sectors.
Firebrand’s publications include Newport Beach magazine, Laguna Beach magazine and Bespoke, a custom in-room book for the St. Regis Hotels and Resorts, as well as the weekly Newport Beach Independent and Laguna Beach Independent newspapers. The company also recently launched a regional website, OCinSite.com.
“We are completely thrilled to have Chris join our team,” said Chief Executive Steve Zepezauer, who helped establish Firebrand in 2007. “His unique experience, enthusiasm and reputation in Orange County are extremely valuable to us as we continue to grow our media offerings in the region.”
Schulz left Orange County in 2008 to become group publisher of Gulfshore Media, publisher of Gulfshore Life and Sarasota magazines, which was acquired in April. He had kept his Laguna Niguel home while living in Florida, and returned here.
“When I came back, I kept hearing about a little, fast-moving company breaking the mold, starting newspapers in a recession,” he said, referring to Firebrand.
In May, Firebrand had hired Tom Johnson, who previously headed Times Community News, including Costa Mesa’s Daily Pilot and Laguna Beach’s Coastline Pilot, to oversee the company’s newspaper group and launch the Newport Beach Independent.
“Both men are accomplished and recognized for their groundbreaking performances in previous leadership roles. Each will be a group publisher and member of our internal board of directors,” Firebrand’s chairman Allan Simon said.
Schulz is eager to apply his expertise at Firebrand.
“We are, as a company, committed to serving this market in a unique way that allows us to inform, entertain and delight our audience while bringing maximum response to advertisers. Watch us closely for some exciting new developments,” he said.