Plastics News Global Group Promotes Three Editors

Plastics News Global Group, the world's largest plastics publishing operation, has announced several high-level changes in its editorial ranks.

-Robert Grace, editor of Plastics News since its founding in March 1989, has been promoted to editorial director of the PN Global Group, which encompasses three print publications, five websites, seven electronic newsletters and multiple events. He also continues in his role as associate publisher and conference director of Akron-based Plastics News.

-Donald Loepp, a 20-year PN veteran and its longtime managing editor, has been promoted to editor of Plastics News. Author of the popular Plastics Blog, Loepp will assume the editor's duties after running the weekly newspaper's day-to-day newsroom operations for many years.

-David Eldridge, editor of the fortnightly, 47-year-old British plastics and rubber newspaper PRW, has accepted the position of editor of European Plastics News, the group's pan-European, monthly magazine. He is replacing EPN Editor and Conference Manager Chris Smith, who in May will assume a position with Applied Market Information Ltd., an international polymer industry market research and consulting firm.

The group will look to hire a new editor soon for PRW, but has no current plans to fill Loepp's vacant managing editor's post in Akron.

"We're fortunate to have the talent and experience in-house to make such changes," said K.C. Crain, Crain Communications Inc. group publisher and vice president. "And moving these three into new roles offers the opportunity to take a fresh look at how best our various titles should attack the large and increasingly global plastics market."

Grace, 53, joined Crain Communications in Akron in March 1980, and was posted 18 months later to London, England, where at age 24 he became editor of European Rubber Journal and later helped to launch Urethanes Technology magazine. He returned to Akron in late 1988 to oversee the editorial launch of the weekly Plastics News. He was named Plastics News associate publisher in 1999 and conference director in 2000.

"Bob's passion for the international arena began with his early, seven-year stint in Europe and was evident in the key role he played in the May 2005 launch of PN's bilingual Chinese website," noted Tony Eagan, vice president and PNGG group publisher. "Now we can better leverage his journalistic talents and broad experience as we continue to develop our brand globally across a number of new platforms."

Loepp, 49, joined Plastics News in 1991 as a reporter, was promoted to news editor in mid-1993, and became managing editor two years later. A graduate of Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism, he had eight years of daily newspaper reporting experience before joining Crain. Loepp has been instrumental in shaping the publication's global news coverage – first in print, then online and now via social media.

Eldridge, 46, began his journalism career in 1990 as an associate editor at Euromoney Group's Petroleum Economist magazine, and worked from 1995-2003 at Metal Bulletin before joining Emap Communications Ltd. in Croydon, England, as editor of PRW. Crain acquired PRW from Emap in July 2007, along with sister publication European Plastics News and a portfolio of European events. Eldridge helped direct the 2005 launch of PRW's Plastics Design & Moulding trade show, plays a major role in the publication's annual Plastics Industry Awards program, and more recently drove the creation of PRW's new Product Design + Innovation conference, which will make its debut in London this May, and its associated website and blog.

Chris Smith has worked in plastics publishing for 24 years, managed the group's conferences for eight years and edited European Plastics News for the past five years.

"We greatly appreciate Chris' strong contributions to European Plastics News and its slate of conferences," said Steve Crowhurst, PNGG's publishing and events director in Europe, "and we'll miss his wealth of industry and technical knowledge. But we're also excited with some of the fresh ideas that David promises to bring to our European coverage. Having David transition from PRW to EPN offers some important continuity while also bringing a different perspective to our operations."

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