Publish date:


Last year my duties took me out to Belmont Park, where former Jockey Sammy Renick took time to show me around. He spoke of this later to Mrs. Allaire duPont, the owner of Kelso, and within a few days a photo of that great champion turned up in my mail. Written on it was: FROM KELSO THE HORSE TO KELSO THE MAN.

It is a fact that the publisher of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED invariably acquires some very special bits of memorabilia. That picture is my favorite. It is also a fact that news and anecdotes about the publisher appear in this space exactly twice—when he comes and when he goes. I've been mentioned before. For Phil Howlett, 52, who this week becomes SPORTS ILLUSTRATED'S eighth publisher in its 25-plus years in print, this is the first mention.

Born in Cincinnati and raised in Evanston, Ill., Phil is a graduate of Northwestern, where he majored in political science and English. He joined Time Inc. 22 years ago as an ad salesman for LIFE and later shifted to FORTUNE, where he rose to New York sales manager. In 1970 he was named European publishing director of TIME, working out of London, and in 1974 he returned to New York to join SPORTS ILLUSTRATED as associate publisher.

For the past four years Phil has been SI's advertising sales director, during which time he reorganized our approach to selling ad space. Most notably, he broke down our total circulation of 2.25 million subscribers into a variety of special, less-than-full-run-circulation editions, enabling advertisers to more exactly pinpoint their audiences. Partly as a result of that reorganization, in the last year SPORTS ILLUSTRATED'S annual ad revenues rose to more than $122 million, fourth among all magazines in the U.S.

Also a knowledgeable sportsman, Phil was a starting shortstop as a freshman at Northwestern and once had serious designs on a career in baseball. His glove was golden, but, happily for us, he couldn't hit the curve. He has also ghostwritten two books: Winning Tennis, by Frank Sedgman, and Modern Baseball Strategy, by Paul Richards. Golf is something Phil and I have in common, though our handicaps, I am afraid, are hardly similar. Mine is 31, which means that this week the publisher's office picks up 19 strokes.

As for me, I am moving on to new duties in preparation for becoming group vice-president, magazines, on Jan. 1, 1981. In that job I'll oversee the business side of all six Time Inc. magazines—TIME, LIFE, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, FORTUNE, PEOPLE and MONEY—plus a seventh, DISCOVER, a science-oriented monthly that will be out in September.

I will miss SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, but with my photo of Kelso the horse hanging in my new office, I will often be reminded of the joys and pleasures Kelso the man has had working at SI. Among them, speaking of pictures, has been occasionally posing for photographs with some of the glittering sports celebrities of our time, ranging from Willie Stargell, Terry Bradshaw and Jack Nicklaus to swimsuit cover girl Christie Brinkley.

So far, Phil has gotten to pose only with me. For him, and SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, I can see only better things ahead.