David Carey
David Carey

David Carey, who stepped down as president of Hearst's magazine unit last year and headed off to Harvard as a visiting fellow, is returning as its full-time PR chief.

He takes on senior VP-public affairs and communications role on Jan. 2.

Steve Swartz, Hearst president & CEO, said Carey’s new remit will be to “lead efforts to enhance our contribution to our communities through our core business mission, through philanthropy and through our participation in key civic groups.”

His return comes as the company undergoes upheaval. Marie Claire editor-in-chief Anne Fulenwider recently resigned to launch a women’s-health related venture. In addition, Hearst Magazine staffers have announced their intention to unionize, with the company saying it will refuse to recognize an employee union.

According to the New York Post, there is speculation that Carey is being brought back to help the company resolve its current difficulties.

“I’m looking forward to working closely with Steve and our division leaders to amplify Hearst’s existing programs and create new initiatives to further strengthen our corporation while making a positive difference in our broader society,” Carey said.

Before joining Hearst in 2010, Carey was group president at Condé Nast, and previously served as publisher for The New Yorker, House & Garden and SmartMoney.