I’d hoped to see Christie Hefner in New York Tuesday, where she was supposed to lead Playboy’s presentation at the UBS Global Media and Communications conference. Instead, she was in Chicago when we spoke by phone a day after her surprising announcement that, after two decades heading the family business, she was stepping down as chairman of Playboy Enterprises (NYSE: PLA) immediately and as CEO at the end of January. From Chicago, Hefner talked about her reasons for leaving, restructuring PEI, relaunching Playboy.com and more.
Lots more after the jump…
— Why now?: Call it the Obama factor. Hefner said she spent the last two years working for a campaign based on change and now wants to experience that for herself. Barack Obama’s election coincides with a stronger position for PEI, which adds to her sense that the timing is right.
— Defining success: When I asked about the impression that Playboy hadn’t managed to deliver on its promise in recent years, Hefner replied: “I think it depends on what period of time you