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The editor of Maclean's magazine has quit, just two months after the publication's publisher, Paul Jones, left in a management shakeup.

Anthony Wilson-Smith, who has been editor of Maclean's for four years, told the staff yesterday that he has decided to leave at the end of February to take on new, but unspecified, challenges.

Mr. Wilson-Smith, 48, has been with the magazine for more than two decades. In an interview yesterday, he said he made the decision to quit while taking a vacation late last year with his family in Barbados.

"I did . . . a walk in the sand instead of a walk in the snow," he said, and decided to make a career change before he hit age 50.

Mr. Wilson-Smith has been the magazine's Quebec editor, Moscow bureau chief and Ottawa editor. He has also been a columnist, and for a time ran the publication's on-line services. He said he had planned to stay on through the company's centennial celebration this year, and possibly a couple of years after that, but changed his mind because "the company is in flux."

Mr. Wilson-Smith said he has specific ideas about what he will do next, but won't reveal details.

After Mr. Jones left Maclean's last November, rumours began to circulate in media circles that former National Post editor Ken Whyte would be brought in to take the job of publisher. Yesterday the talk shifted to the possibility that Mr. Whyte could become both editor and publisher.

Marc Blondeau, senior vice-president of Rogers Media Inc., which owns Maclean's, refused to comment on any specific people who might be considered for either position. He said he hopes to name a new publisher by the time Mr. Wilson-Smith leaves.

Mr. Wilson-Smith said there are a number of people who could take on his job and the position of publisher. "If it was Ken that would be great, obviously he's a terrific journalist. If it's someone else, that would be fine as well."

Mr. Blondeau said there are no current plans for major changes at Maclean's, which has increased both its newsstand sales and profits in recent months. The magazine has about three million readers, according to recent readership studies, although it has also been subject to criticism that it has given up its hard news coverage for softer features and lifestyle stories.

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