Raymond J. Petersen, Trustee Of The Hearst Family Trust, Board Member Of hearst Corporation & Long-Time Hearst Magazines Executive, Dead At 88
Raymond J. Petersen, a trustee of The Hearst Family Trust and a member of the Board of Directors of Hearst Corporation, as well as former executive vice president of Hearst Magazines and one of the magazine industry’s most prominent executives, died July 11th in Palm Beach, Fla. He was 88.
In 1963, Petersen was elected a member of Hearst Corporation’s Board of Directors and four years later was appointed senior vice president of Hearst Magazines. In 1969, Petersen was appointed a trustee of The Hearst Family Trust and a director of the Hearst Foundations. Over the years, Petersen was also renowned for his support of numerous charities and religious and civic organizations.
“Ray’s tireless service to Hearst Corporation, the Trust, and the Foundations, as well as to countless charities and other worthy organizations, was an inspiration to us all,” said Victor F. Ganzi, president and CEO of Hearst Corporation. “We will miss him greatly.”
“His diversity of knowledge and work meant a great deal to the Company,” said George R. Hearst, Jr., chairman of the board of Hearst Corporation and president of The Hearst Foundation, Inc. “Speaking on behalf of the Hearst family, we were very fortunate to have had a person of Ray’s stature helping us as a member of our executive team.”
Said Frank A. Bennack, Jr., vice chairman of the board of Hearst Corporation and chairman of Hearst’s executive committee, “Ray was a consummate salesman and his knowledge of the advertising business helped the growth of many Hearst titles and our other businesses. His contribution to the success of Good Housekeeping, from ad salesman to publishing director over five decades is unexcelled. Outside of Hearst, he helped establish the advertising industry’s self-regulatory bodies and was active and effective as a spokesman against government interference in advertising. He was a pioneer on all fronts as well as a great family man.” Bennack was CEO of Hearst during 23 years of Petersen’s tenure there.
Petersen joined Hearst Corporation in 1948 as an advertising salesperson for Good Housekeeping. He became the magazine’s fashion advertising manager, later its advertising director, and in 1960 was named publisher and vice president of Hearst Magazines. In 1973, he was appointed executive vice president of Hearst Magazines. Petersen served with the U.S. Army during World War II and was decorated with the Bronze Star Medal.
Among his numerous civic and charitable activities, Petersen served on the board of governors of St. Vincent’s Hospital, Montclair, N.J., as a member of the advisory board of St. Vincent’s Hospital and Medical Center, Harrison, N.Y., and as a director and member of the executive board of the Boy Scouts, Greater New York Council. He was designated a Knight of Malta, one of the highest honors in the Catholic Church, in 1964 by the late Pope John XXIII.
Petersen also served as a vice president and member of the board of directors of the United Service Organizations (USO), and he served on the chairman’s committee of the United Cerebral Palsy Campaign Fund. He was a member of the boards of directors of the American Friends of the Jerusalem Mental Health Center, the Madison Square Boys and Girls Club, the National Crime Prevention Council, and he was an honorary advisor to the board of directors of the Children of Alcoholics Foundation. He also served as director of the corporate board of Covenant House, and as national chairman for Religion in American Life, which gave him its Charles E. Wilson Award in 1985.
Petersen was also active in the educational sector, having served as a member of the Business Committees of Montclair State College and St. Lawrence University, and as a member of the advisory board of Webber College. He received an honorary Doctor of Journalism degree from St. Joseph’s College in 1966. In 1987, President Ronald Reagan appointed him a commissioner of the U.S. National Commission on Libraries and Information Science, Washington, D.C.
Petersen served on the boards of directors of several corporations and business institutions, including Supermarkets General, International Capital and Technology Corporation, A.C. Daily Income Fund Inc., Southwest Forest Industries, and Knox Lumber Company. He served on the board of governors of the Academy of Food Marketing of St. Joseph’s College in Philadelphia, and on the board of trustees of the Consumer Research Institute of the Grocery Manufacturers of America Inc. He was also a director of the Executive Committee of the Council of Better Business Bureaus, and later was named vice chairman of its board of directors.
Among his many activities within the advertising industry, Petersen served as a director of the Brand Names Foundation, the Magazine Advertising Bureau, and the Coty Awards Committee. He was an honorary director of the New York Advertising Club, a member of the Advertising Council’s Magazine Committee, a member of the Public Service Advisory Committee of the Communications Industries Council, and chairman of the national Advertising Review Council. He was named chairman of the American Advertising Federation in 1978. In 1986, he was elected to the Advertising Hall of Fame, which is administered by the American Advertising Federation, and was inducted in 1987.
Petersen is survived by his wife, Gayle, and his eight surviving children and two stepchildren.
A memorial service will be held on Tuesday, July 17, 2007 at 4 p.m. at St. Vincent Ferrer, 869 Lexington Avenue, New York City. Immediately following, a reception will by held from 5:30-7 p.m. on the 44th floor of Hearst Tower (300 West 57th Street, New York City).
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to: Lourdes-Noreen McKeen Residence, 315 South Flagler Drive, West Palm Beach, FL 33401. Phone: 561-650-8947
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