PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. - George Vincent Grune, who led the turnaround of Reader's Digest in the 1980s and 90s, died April 17. He was 83.
He started at Reader's Digest in in 1960 in advertising sales, and rose through the ranks until being named chairman and CEO in 1984.
He transformed the struggling Reader's Digest Association by instituting its first strategic plan, modernizing its image and positioning it as a global player, AdAge reported this week.
He took the company public in 1990, after which it saw record profits at home and abroad. He retired in 1995, but the company, which was headquartered in Chappaqua until recently, ran into rough times again after his departure, and he returned for a brief stint in 1997.
He was also the chairman of the board of The Wallace Foundation, a philanthropic organization started by the founders of Reader's Digest, DeWitt and Lila Bell Wallace. It supports education, youth, arts and culture, including the New York Zoological Society, Lincoln Center, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York Public Library, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, and Colonial Williamsburg.
A native of White Plains and resident of Ponte Vedra Beach, Grune was born in White Plains and graduated from White Plains High School. He attended Duke University on a full football scholarship. After graduating from Duke in 1952, he joined the Marine Corps where he served for two years and then in the Reserves until being discharged in 1964 as a captain.
Grune is survived by his wife, Betty Lu; three sons George, Jr. (Judy) Grune; Robert (Joan) Grune; and Steven (Nancy) Grune; and nine grandchildren.
Services will be held Wednesday, April 24 at 11 a.m. at Palms Presbyterian Church in Ponte Vedra Beach, with a reception following at the church.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the National Boys and Girls Clubs of America at 1275 Peachtree Street NE, Atlanta, GA 30309-3506, or to the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra at 300 Water St., Suite 200, Jacksonville, FL 32202.
Services under the direction and care of Quinn-Shalz Family Funeral Home , Jacksonville Beach.
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