David Pecker

The CEO of the rather generic-sounding American Media Inc., Pecker oversees a collection of more than a dozen magazines and newspapers including the National Enquirer and Star.

After college, Pecker landed an accounting job at Price Waterhouse, jumping to the accounting department at CBS's magazine division in 1979. Eight years later, CBS sold its magazine portfolio to the company's longtime chief, Peter Diamandis, and Pecker followed along. After Diamandis's departure three years later, Pecker was appointed the company's CEO but left 1999 when he raised more than $850 million from Thomas H. Lee Partners and Roger Altman's Evercore Partners to take over American Media, the publisher of the National Enquirer, Star, as well as tawdry supermarket weeklies like the Weekly World News and the Globe. He expanded the AMI empire in 2003 when he raised an additional $350 million to purchase Wieder Publications, the publisher of Men's Fitness and Shape.

It's been a rough few years for Pecker and AMI. The saturation of the celebrity news market both in print and online has led to intense competition for scoops. Pecker has also had to deal with a good deal of internal turmoil: Pecker's high-profile hire of Bonnie Fuller in 2003 didn't pay off as expected. With investor pressure mounting, Pecker has been spending much of his time cutting costs. The hard-charging Pecker has never had many friends in the industry. He once took an ad out in the New York Times denouncing rival publishing house Hearst for cutting their rate bases and raising advertising rates. [Image via Getty, with John B]