Former FIPP chief Donald Kummerfeld no more

13 Jul,2012

By A Correspondent


Donald Kummerfeld

Donald Kummerfeld, famous for being the Deputy Mayor of New York city and also a name that the Indian magazine industry wouldn’t forget, passed away at the age of 78. Mr Kummerfeld, who was affectionately referred to as Don by colleagues and friends, was the former CEO of Magazines Publishers of America.


Mr. Kummerfeld was president of MPA for around 12 years – making him the longest serving president – during which time, he travelled the world to spread awareness and increase popularity of the magazines. He was also president and CEO of The International Federation of Periodical Publishers (FIPP), and was widely credited for increasing the membership from 161 to 269 member companies and national associations across 68 countries.


Reminiscing his experiences with the man he finds hard to forget, Maheshwar Peri, Founder & Publisher, Pathfinder and former publisher, Outlook Group and president, Outlook Publishing said: “Don was an evangelist who encouraged us in forming the Association of Indian Magazines (AIM). Those days you had people like Aroon Purie, Paresh Nath, myself and a few others who got together with the intent of wanting to do something for the Indian magazine industry. But it was Donald Kummerfeld who kept pushing and motivating us to launch AIM in India. So much so that, the day we were launching AIM in India, he flew all the way from Europe just to be present on the occasion.”


Sharing another attribute of Mr Kummerfeld, Mr Peri said: “The other thing about Donald Kummerfeld is that he has been very instrumental in getting international magazines to explore base in India. Whenever he sniffed an opportunity of a magazine wanting to launch in India, he would immediately bring it to our attention. So, he was instrumental in international magazines evolving, developing and having a far bigger presence in countries other than their origin.”


He further shared: “The biggest thing about Don that struck me the most was that he was always there whenever you needed him. Whenever he was in India, he made it a point to call up and meet different magazine owners / editors, even if it wasn’t work-related. In fact, I would say that he has hand-held me several times and helped me in strategising plans whenever I had to launch a new magazine/venture. It’s actually come as a shock that he has passed away, especially since he was still working actively a couple of years ago.”


Though his last years were dedicated to social and political causes, Mr Kummerfeld’s tryst with media began when he joined Rupert Murdoch’s News America Publishing as president and COO. He was also the publisher of the National Journal.


Photograph source: Association of Indian Magazines (


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