Christie Hefner is the daughter of Hugh Hefner, the founder of the adult entertainment company ‘Playboy Enterprises’. She did her bachelor’s degree in English and American Literature from Brandeis University and started her career as a journalist. Later she joined her father’s company and rose to be its CEO and chairperson. She made an impact on the company’s functioning by shifting its focus from the print media to the internet in order to keep it abreast with the changing scenario. She is known for starting Playboy TV and Playboy.com. She also closed down Playboy Clubs and laid off surplus staff of the company. Under her able leadership, Playboy gained control over other similar agencies and became the world’s number one adult entertainment enterprise. As time went by, she was influenced by Barrack Obama and decided to leave the company and divert her attention to social causes. She established the Hugh M First Amendment Award and helped raise $ 30 million for the first outpatient facility for AIDS. She also went on to get involved with the wellness and beauty industry and was appointed the executive chairperson of the Canyon Ranch Enterprises and Hatch Beauty. Among her various other portfolios, she became a member of the board of RDO Companies and is on the advisory board of the Springboard Enterprises. Today, Christie Hefner is one of America’s respected citizens and a standing member of its Civil Liberties Union.
Childhood & Early Life
Christie Ann Hefner was born on November 8, 1952 in Chicago Illinois, USA to Mildred and Hugh Hefner. Her father is the founder of the Playboy Enterprises. She was barely five years old when her parents divorced and her mother remarried. She has a brother and two half siblings from his father’s previous marriage.
After her parents separated, she and her brother David moved to Wilmette, Illinois. They were brought up in the suburbs of the city where she graduated from the New Trier High School. She was good at maths and interested in music from an early age. As extracurricular activity, she attended the National Music Camp at Interlochen during the summers from 1964 to 1969.
Later, she graduated with summa cum laude from Brandeis University with a bachelor’s degree in American Literature and English in 1974. During her first year at the university, she was elected to the prestigious Phi Beta Kappa honour society and in 1978 she became a President’s Councillor of her alma mater.
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Christie at one stage contemplated doing law after her degree, but later decided to start her career as a freelance journalist. She began by writing movie reviews for the ‘Boston Phoenix’ for a year.
After gaining experience in journalism, she moved to Chicago and entered her father’s empire to work for Playboy. Within four years, she was promoted to be the vice president of the company and rose to the position of its president in 1982. By 1988, Christie Hefner was the chairperson and CEO of Playboy Enterprises.
When Christie joined Playboy, she considered it an interim measure and thought she would not stay on for a long time. However, after the first five years, she started liking the business world and realised her potential as a leader and businesswoman.
Under her leadership, Playboy Enterprise acquired other leading adult oriented businesses such as ‘Spice Network’ and ‘ClubJenna’. She streamlined the company’s operations by eliminating the DVD division and laying off superfluous staff in 2008. She is also responsible for closing down the Playboy Clubs, where female waitresses served dressed in Playboy bunny costumes. On the other hand, she started Playboy TV and Playboy.com to remain in tune with the changing times.
In December 2008, she announced her plans to step down from the post of CEO of Playboy within a year, and decided to divert her attention to charity work. As per her statement, she was influenced by President Barrack Obama to embrace the change in her life.
She established the Hugh M First Amendment Award in honour of her father and helped raise $ 30 million to build the CORE Centre in Chicago that was the first outpatient facility for treatment of people suffering from AIDS.
Christie went on to be involved with the wellness industry and was appointed the executive chairperson of the Canyon Ranch Enterprises in 2011. The company operates six premier spa destinations and an online website that gives health and wellness advice.
She later left Canyon Ranch Enterprises and became the chairperson of the personal care enterprise called ‘Hatch Beauty’ in 2015. The company is known for its innovative ways of beauty and personal care. She also became a member of the board of RDO Companies that has a $ 3 Billion agricultural conglomerate.
Among her various other portfolios, she is the founding member of The Chicago Network, The Committee of 200 and Women Corporate Directors. She is also an advisory board member of the Springboard Enterprises and a trustee of Rush University Medical Centre.
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Today, Christie Hefner is one of America’s respected citizens and a long standing member of its Civil Liberties Union. She has delivered various talks on criminal justice and prevention of drug abuse. She has been listed as number 90 in the Forbes 100 Most Powerful Women in the World.
As a journalist. she wrote movie reviews for the ‘Boston Phoenix’ in her early career.
Her major contribution is to steer Playboy Enterprises as its CEO and to keep it abreast with the changing times by gradually shifting its focus from print media to online ventures.
Awards & Achievements
Though Christie Hefner has not been recognised by any major award, her biggest achievement is to keep the legacy of her father going and at the same time divert her attention to charitable work in the later half of her career.
Personal Life & Legacy
Christie has always carried the legacy of her father and his enterprise, the Playboy. She married William A Marovitz, former Illinois state senator in 1995. Her husband was also an attorney and a real estate developer. He was sued by the Securities Exchange Commission for allegedly using inside information for trading shares of Playboy illegally in 2012 that had to be settled out of court by paying $ 168,352.
Christie had told her husband not to trade in Playboy shares, since she was the CEO, which could lead to legal complications. However, her husband did not pay heed to her advice, and that lead to their divorce in 2013.
She was always better in maths as a child and had a natural instinct for investment in the market, yet she did her major in English and took up journalism as a career.
Christie believed in being financially independent from a young age. While in college she lived with her boyfriend and saved money to buy her own car.
Before starting her career, she took up various part time jobs like babysitting, gift wrapping etc to make her own pocket money and be independent.
She is a known figure in the financial world and has given guest lectures at the Harvard Business School to share her experiences as a businesswomen several times.
Since May 2005, she has been an active blogger at the Huffington Post.
She has helped raise funds for a few Democratic candidates for the US Senate and is a strong supporter of the political party.