Christie Hefner

Groundbreaking Creative Executive and Brand Innovation Expert

Christie Hefner recently became chairman of Hatch Beauty, a brand and product innovation company. Previously, she served as executive chairman of Canyon Ranch Enterprises, a new division of the renowned wellness lifestyle company created to extend the Canyon Ranch brand into new areas via media and business partnerships. She is also director of the Center for American Progress, the think tank started and run by John Podesta and is leading an effort to build collaborations between leaders in business and this leading progressive public policy not-for-profit.

From 1988-2008, Hefner was chairman and CEO of Playboy Enterprises, Inc. making her the longest serving female chairman and CEO of a U.S. public company. During her tenure, she oversaw policy, management and strategy in all areas of the company for two decades. For three years she was named to FORTUNE’s list of “Most Powerful Women”.

After working as a journalist for a year, Hefner joined Playboy in 1975. She worked in a variety of the company's businesses before being named president in 1982. In 1988, she was named chairman and CEO of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE)—listed international media and entertainment company.

During her tenure, Hefner recapitalized the company, making it the first NYSE corporation allowed to issue a second class of stock with disparate voting rights. She restructured operations and initiated the company's highly successful electronic and international expansions. Under Hefner's leadership, the company developed its profitable television business—the first time a magazine successfully leveraged its brand into television. Continuing the company's electronic expansion, in 1994, Hefner led the company onto the Internet, making Playboy the first national magazine on the web. Playboy.com, which features original content as well as repurposed content from the magazine and television, is a profitable multiple-revenue business with e-commerce, subscriptions, advertising and online gaming. Hefner greatly expanded the leveraging of the Playboy brand via licensing. In 2008, Playboy generated close to $1 billion in global retail sales.

At Canyon Ranch, she has developed and executed strategy of extending its content digitally, and through partnerships in employee wellness and consumer products.

She has spoken to audiences around the world on the creation of brands and global multichannel marketing, the merits and benefits of developing and running a family business, women leaders and women in business, how to create a successful international business model, the ever-evolving media and its importance, First Amendment rights and their commercial impact and insight into the American consumer.

Hefner is a passionate advocate of freedom of expression, social justice and equal rights and opportunities for women. She was the first woman elected to the Chicago chapter of the Young Presidents' Organization and has worked hard to increase the number of women serving on corporate boards nationwide. As part of that effort, she has served as a panelist at Foley & Lardner's nationally renowned annual National Directors Institute. In 1991, Hefner was inducted into the Women's Business Development Center Hall of Fame for "opening doors and building opportunities for all women entrepreneurs." She was also on the advisory board of and was spokesperson for "The Shriver Report: A Woman's Nation Changes Everything" which sparked a global conversation about the consequences of women's shifting roles in the workplace and in society. Hefner is also a founding member of the Committee of 200, an international organization of preeminent women business owners and executives whose mission is to foster, celebrate and advance women’s leadership in business and of the Chicago Chapter of Women Corporate Directors whose mission is to continue to expand the WCD community through leadership, diversity, education and best practices in corporate governance.

She appears regularly as a commentator on television including on Morning Joe, Squawk Box, Bloomberg and The Sean Hannity Show on FOX.

Hefner was born in Chicago in 1952. Elected to Phi Beta Kappa in her junior year of college, she graduated from Brandeis University summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and American Literature in 1974. 

Awards and Honors