Stephen Lacy, who has been president of Meredith Corp.'s publishing group, will take over as president and COO of the entire company July 1. In his new role, Lacy will be in charge of the day-to-day operations of Meredith, freeing William Kerr, who remains chairman and CEO, to focus on long-term strategy, Meredith said. Lacy will continue to report to Kerr. John Griffin has been named to succeed Lacy as head of the publishing group, which includes the company's book unit and the much larger magazine division. Griffin has been president of the magazine unit since June 2003.

Meredith's book unit has had a strong run through the first nine months of the company's fiscal year. The publisher has done well with two Trading Spaces books and the 12th edition of The Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book. In March, Meredith announced it was entering the children's publishing business and has signed licensing deals to publish SpiderMan 2 titles as well as books based on Strawberry Shortcake and Care Bears characters. With the addition of the SpiderMan 2 titles, Meredith added Toys R Us as a distribution outlet.