Christie Hefner, Playboy’s Accidental Entrepreneur


Share on LinkedIn

Since graduating from Brandeis University about 30 years ago, I have known that one of our most famous alumni was Christie Hefner, the former CEO of Playboy Enterprises.

Tracy Thirion of Bamboo, Christie Hefner and Me

At a small Brandeis Alumni gathering, Christie talked about how she transformed her life and her business. Ironically, she never thought that she would go into the family business. Christie grew up in Wilmette with her mother and wanted to pursue a liberal arts education at Brandeis. She wrote for the school newspaper and pursued journalism at the Boston Phoenix paper.

Before she went to graduate school, her famous father, Hugh Hefner asked her to work at Playboy magazine for a short period. At the time, she did not have a strong relationship with her father. Christie pictured this experience as “the junior year abroad that she never had.” She insists that there was no grand plan or succession scheme. For the next seven years, she did various jobs around the company.

Christie revealed that in 1982 when Playboy was forced to pull its gambling operations out of the UK, it became evident that many of the other businesses that Playboy had become involved in were not profitable. The current CEO was asked to resign by the board and Christie, at 29 was elected president.

Christie states several advantages she had as the new president.

1. She did not know what she did not know.
2. She knew not to delegate the numbers and that cash was king.
3. She immediately dumped the loser businesses.
4. She realized how valuable the Playboy brand really was.
5. She thought that the business would be more electronic and global.
6. She was a Hefner.

When Christie left Playboy as CEO in early 2009 after 33 years, she said that the election of Barack Obama inspired her to do more charitable work.

What has she learned in business?

1. It’s important to keep learning. Learn how to learn.
2. Know how to communicate to everyone around you.
3. The most important skill in hiring people is intellectual agility.
4. Take advantage if you find yourself in a business crisis. It is at this time people know that they need to change.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Barry Moltz
Barry Moltz Group
Barry Moltz has founded and run small businesses with a great deal of success and failure for more than 15 years. Barry is a nationally recognized expert on entrepreneurship who has given hundreds of presentations to audiences ranging from 2 to 2,. His third book, BAM! Delivering Customer Service in a Self-Service World shows how customer service is the new marketing.


Please use comments to add value to the discussion. Maximum one link to an educational blog post or article. We will NOT PUBLISH brief comments like "good post," comments that mainly promote links, or comments with links to companies, products, or services.

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here