A restructure of Conde Nast has dropped the publisher role, dampening its ties to the print industry ahead of a renewed push for online media that could lead to its eventual sale.
Single-title publishers will now give way to multi-brand chief business officers and category-specific chief industry officers. However, Vogue and the New Yorker will continue to remain stand-alone brands given their popularity and commercial value.
Existing publishers will now take on the following roles: Architectural Digest's Giulio Capua (now overseeing AD, Condé Nast Traveler and the Food Innovation Group), Wired's Kim Kelleher (Glamour, Allure, Brides, Teen Vogue and Self), Vanity Fair's Chris Mitchell (VF and W) and GQ's Howard Mittman (GQ, GQ Style, Golf Digest and Golf World, the Wired Media Group, and Pitchfork)—who now hold the title of chief business officers, reported AdWeek.
The long-rumoured shakeup is the first big move from Jim Norton, the former AOL sales executive who joined the business in September to become the chief business officer and president of revenue at Conde Nast. Many observers saw his arrival as a sign that the one-time king of print media was setting its sights on capturing a greater slice of the online media market.
In an email to the publisher’s staff, Norton explained: “We’re modernizing our revenue teams to simplify the way we work with our partners and better leverage the extraordinary talent in our company." As such, the sales team will be divided into two groups focusing on either "brand collections" or "client industries."
The second group will concentrate on client industries and will replace the existing Conde Nast Media Group. Condé Nast Entertainment CRO Lisa Valentino will lead the group as its chief revenue officer for industry and agency. Current publishers such as W publisher Lucy Kriz and Conde Nast Traveler publisher Brendan Monaghan will run industry-specific sales across the entire company in seven categories including automotive, beauty and fashion and luxury.
The introduction of a more robust and future-proofed corporate structure is likely to fuel rumours that Advance Publications, the family-run business that owns Conde Nast wants to sell the publisher. Potential bidders are reported to include Apple, Vice Media, Google and arch-rival Hearst.
The news comes just days after the shock resignation of Alexandra Shulam, editor-in-chief of british Vogue. Shulman, who steered the iconic title for 25 years, did not reveal the reason for departure, though did stress it was her decision.