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New Firebrand Hire Strengthens its Magazine Group

Laguna Beach-based Firebrand Media LLC, which publishes local, regional and national publications, welcomes Christopher Schulz as its new group magazine division publisher, the company announced this week.

Schulz, 55, previously worked eight years as group publisher for Freedom Communications’ magazine division, where he published Coast, a luxury lifestyle magazine, and a portfolio of regional and custom magazines.

In his new role, Schulz will oversee a portfolio of Firebrand magazines and digital products serving the lifestyle, tourism and travel sectors.

Firebrand’s publications include Newport Beach Magazine, Laguna Beach Magazine and Bespoke Magazine, a custom in-room book for the St. Regis Hotels and Resorts, as well as the weekly Newport Beach and Laguna Beach Independent newspapers. The company also recently launched a regional website, OCinSite.com.

“We are completely thrilled to have Chris join our team,” said Chief Executive Steve Zepezauer,  who helped establish Firebrand in 2007. “His unique experience, enthusiasm and reputation in Orange County is extremely valuable to us as we continue to grow our media offerings in the region.”

Schulz left Orange County in 2008 to become group publisher of Gulfshore Media, publisher of Gulfshore Life and Sarasota magazines, which was acquired in April. “I kept scheming about a way to return,” said Shultz, who retained his Laguna Niguel home while living in Naples. “When I came back, I kept hearing about a little, fast-moving company breaking the mold, starting newspapers in a recession,” he said, referring to Firebrand.

In May, Firebrand also hired Tom Johnson, who previously headed Times Community News, including Costa Mesa’s Daily Pilot and Laguna Beach’s Coastline Pilot, to oversee the company’s newspaper group and launched a sister weekly paper.  “Both men are accomplished and recognized for their groundbreaking performances in previous leadership roles. Each will be a group publisher and member of our internal board of directors,” Firebrand’s chairman Allan Simon said.

Schulz is eager to bring his expertise to Firebrand. “We are as a company committed to serving this market in a unique way, that allows us to inform, entertain and delight our audience while bringing maximum response to advertisers. Watch us closely for some exciting new developments,” he said.

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