Stanley Reed, 90; Helped Create Niche Magazines

By Adam Bernstein
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Stanley Foster Reed, 90, an entrepreneur and business consultant who created specialty magazines including Mergers & Acquisitions and Campaigns & Elections, died Oct. 25 at the University of Virginia Medical Center in Charlottesville. He had developed a subdural hematoma after a fall about a month ago.

Mr. Reed was a self-taught engineer and naval architect who began a scientific research company in Washington that did defense contracting work from the 1940s to early 1960s.

Missteps he made in the sale of his business, Reed Research, led to his interest in starting the magazine Mergers & Acquisitions in 1965. He said he wanted to teach others how to become better judges of "men, prospects and management."

Mergers & Acquisitions, which launched at the start of a decade-long merger wave nationally, established Mr. Reed as an authority on business trends and brought him extensive consulting work as far away as Brazil and Japan.

After Mergers & Acquisitions, Mr. Reed introduced Directors & Boards (1976), a journal covering shareholder activism and corporate governance, as well as Export Today (1985). He was less successful with an online effort,, in the mid-1990s.

The profitability of his initial business magazines and his interest in politics -- mostly what he thought were its shortcomings -- led Mr. Reed to start Campaigns & Elections in 1980. He said he had been distressed about low turnout among voters and the machine politics that persisted in many cities.

"The civil service was being prostituted," Mr. Reed, a self-described liberal, told the magazine in 2005. "I thought we could get better people involved if they knew how to enter politics."

Campaigns & Elections found an audience among political professionals, journalists and academics. Yet the business world remained his chief focus -- as a magazine founder and university lecturer. Starting in 1994, he spent almost a decade teaching advanced management courses as entrepreneur-in-residence at the College of Charleston in South Carolina.

His books included "The Toxic Executive" (1993), about the harm caused by difficult bosses, and a guidebook to mergers and acquisitions that he wrote with his daughter Alexandra Lajoux.

Mr. Reed, whose father was a Pricewaterhouse accountant, was born Sept. 28, 1917, in Bogota, N.J.

His family described him as an intellectual bored by school while growing up in Westchester County, N.Y. It was not until 1981 that he received his only formal degree in higher education, a master's degree in business administration from Loyola College in Baltimore.

As a young man, he started a roofing company and also worked in a sheet metal factory. He used his on-the-job training in engineering to start Reed Research.

Besides the scientific research he conducted, he also publicized in 1963 a quirky invention to replace paper money: plastic currency the size and shape of a graham cracker that he claimed was durable, washable and counterfeit-proof.

Mr. Reed, a former McLean resident, was a frequent social presence in Washington and New York. He belonged to the New York Yacht Club and was a founder of the International Club of Washington. He was also a capable musician and at the time of his death was composing an opera based in Paris that focused on the lives of Thomas Jefferson and his slave Sally Hemings.

His marriage to Stella Swingle Reed ended in divorce. His second wife, Shirley Weihman Reed, died in 1988.

Besides Lajoux, of Fairfax County, survivors include two other daughters from his first marriage, Nancie Chang of Adelphi and Beryl Wolfe of Tucson; three brothers, Preston Reed of Farmington, Conn., Malcolm Reed of Pompano Beach, Fla., and Donald Reed of Kensington; a sister, Beryl Clegg of Kailua, Hawaii; and six grandchildren.

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