Anna Wintour Will Try to Make Condé Nast Magazines Profitable Again

From a Wall Street Journal story by Lukas I. Alpert headlined “Wintour to Oversee Condé Nast content”:

Anna Wintour, long one of the most influential editors in the magazine world, is about to get even more powerful.

Condé Nast has named Ms. Wintour its first-ever global chief content officer as part of the media company’s broader push to unify its international and U.S. operations.

The promotion gives Ms. Wintour oversight of all Condé Nast’s brands world-wide and puts her in charge of all of Vogue’s 25 global editions, on top of her longtime role as editor in chief of Vogue U.S.

The move comes after a tough year for Condé Nast, punctuated by layoffs and staff unrest over diversity issues. Ms. Wintour’s critics said she has contributed to an atmosphere where Black employees felt sidelined and belittled during her 32 years at the company. . . .

The decision by Condé Nast Chief Executive Roger Lynch to give the 71-year-old Ms. Wintour broader responsibilities is a vote of confidence in her ability to help lead the company as it tries to return to profitability. . . .

Ms. Wintour was named Vogue’s U.S. editor in 1988 and quickly became one of the most influential tastemakers in the fashion industry, forging deep relationships with the top fashion houses and making stars of upcoming designers. She turned the magazine into the company’s biggest moneymaker, and in 2014 she was named Condé Nast’s U.S. artistic director. Last year she joined a global leadership team to advise on global content opportunities.

Mr. Lynch took charge of Condé Nast, whose many titles include Vanity Fair, the New Yorker, Bon Appétit and GQ, in April 2019, after stints running Pandora Media Inc. and Sling TV. Since then, he has worked to merge the company’s U.S. and sprawling international businesses. He has also worked to expand in digital video and move all the company’s titles behind digital paywalls to supplement declining ad revenue.

Mr. Lynch said in an interview that the company now makes less than half its revenue from advertising in the pages of its print magazines. “We are deeply immersed in a very broad transformation project,” he said. . . .

In 2017, Condé Nast lost $120 million after a yearslong, industrywide shift of readership and ad spending from magazines to the web. The company had set 2020 as its target to return to profitability, but was set back by the economic impact of the pandemic. In May, the company laid off about 100 people in the U.S. and temporarily furloughed a similar number of people. . . .

As part of its effort to streamline operations world-wide, the company is also announcing newly created global editorial directors for Architectural Digest, Condé and GQ, putting control of all editions of those titles under one person.

Amy Astley was appointed global editorial director of Architectural Digest; Divia Thani will be the global editorial director of Condé Nast Traveller; and Will Welch will be the global editorial director of GQ. Edward Enninful was named European editorial director for Vogue in markets where the local edition is owned and operated by Condé Nast, including the U.K., France, Italy, Germany and Spain. The company plans to create similar roles for all of its brands next year.

Also see Edmund Lee in the New York Times with a story headlined ” Condé Nast Puts Anna Wintour in Charge of Magazines Worldwide.”

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