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Christie Hefner to step down as Playboy chairman and CEO

Christie Hefner has announced that she is to step down as chairman and CEO of Playboy Enterprises, the entertainment company famous for the adult magazine set up by her father Hugh.

She will stay on as CEO until the end of January 2009 and will remain as a member of the board until a new CEO is found.

"Playboy Enterprises has literally and figuratively been my life and career for more than 30 years," Hefner said. "Last month marked my 20th anniversary as CEO; just as this country is embracing change in the form of new leadership, I have decided that now is the time to make changes in my own life as well."

Describing the experience as remarkable, she also admitted she never anticipated she would follow in her father's footsteps. "I never expected to go into the family business, much less to stay here this long, but I have enjoyed the challenges and opportunities the past decades have presented," she said.

Playboy has appointed long-time director Jerome Kern to serve as interim non-executive chairman, and he highlighted Hefner's work including overseeing Playboy's transition from print to multimedia.

Her father also paid tribute to the work of his daughter. "I asked Christie to step up as president when the company faced serious financial difficulties more than two decades ago. She has worked tirelessly to expand the company's franchise, and, as a result of her efforts, the company today has more consumers and fans than at any time in our history," he said.

Famed for his licentious lifestyle, Hugh nevertheless showed he has his daughter's best interests at heart. "Of course, as her father, my first priority is Christie's happiness. While I will miss her leadership here, I believe that she will go on to achieve even greater personal success," he concluded.

Click here to read our exclusive 2007 interview with Christie Hefner.

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