DAN WAKEFORD was named Editor-in-Chief of PEOPLE in March 2019. He joined the brand in 2015 as Deputy Editor, with responsibility for all human interest, service and royal family content and for leading breaking news coverage — from school shootings to celebrity weddings — across multiple platforms.
Wakeford has a sharp understanding of the zeitgeist and is a master storyteller and brand-builder who specializes in cover creation and multi-platform content. He has split his time between editing the magazine, overseeing 11 of PEOPLE’s digital verticals and developing the future of the business with spin-off projects. These include three seasons of the crime TV series PEOPLE Magazine Investigates; two of the spin-off PEOPLE Magazine Investigates: Cults on Investigation Discovery; and two network documentaries on the British royal family for ABC. His sellable editorial packages and business initiatives, such as the digital verticals — PEOPLE Health, accolade programs like Companies That Care and a coffee table book, The 100 Best Celebrity Photos — have all brought in substantial incremental revenue to PEOPLE.
Wakeford introduced two new editorial franchises in 2019: PEOPLE’s Kindness Issue, which inspires readers to lead with compassion by trying one simple act of kindness a day that may encourage others to also pay it forward, and PEOPLE of the Year, a special double issue celebrating the stars who have made an impact on our culture and who have moved and entertained us. He also launched a yearlong initiative on mental health to encourage readers to have vital conversations about this sensitive topic. The “Let’s Talk About It” campaign highlights stories of ordinary people and celebrities who have dealt with mental illness and provides resources to get help.
Before joining PEOPLE, Wakeford served as Editor in Chief of both Life & Style and In Touch Weekly, where he oversaw editorial direction and content strategy for more than seven years. As Executive Editor of In Touch Weekly he was a member of the senior management team that launched the award-winning weekly celebrity title. He immigrated from the United Kingdom in 2002 to develop the genre of celebrity weeklies in America. Before that, he served as a top editor on the team that created Heat, the award-winning London magazine that defined pop culture in the early 2000s in Europe. He was also a celebrity reporter for the two biggest newspapers in the UK – The Sun and The Mirror.
Wakeford earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in American Studies at the University of Leicester, as well as a postgraduate journalism diploma. He has written, edited and consulted for lifestyle brands and market-leading digital and print publications including Hello!, Heat, Grazia, Yahoo!, and Time Out.
He lives in Brooklyn, New York, with his husband, actor Lucas Baker.