THE REMARKABLE THING about the exit of Conde Nast Publications' Editorial Director James Truman is that no insiders in the company's notoriously gossipy hallways report anything that differs from the official line: That the stylish, soft-spoken Truman left on his own volition. (Such was not the case with many other recent high-profile departures from Conde Nast.) Still, all great careers have ironies, and here is Truman's: This ineffably serious-minded Brit-he hoped, after all, to launch a highbrow art magazine under Conde Nast auspices-will be best remembered for shepherding into the American-magazine landscape the shopping title Lucky. A mere four years after its launch, virtually no self-respecting mass-market magazine company is without some kind of shopping section or title in its stable, and after me-too magazines from everyone from Hearst Magazines to Ziff Davis, the latest bidder for the shopping space comes from-venerated Newsweek and its Tip offshoot!
The other remarkable thing about Mr. Truman's exit is his replacement: the editor in chief of Conde Nast Traveler, Thomas Wallace. By choosing him, Chairman Samuel "Si" Newhouse Jr. chose a steady, manager, not a big personality. Kind of like how he chose the steady Mr. Inside of Chuck Townsend to replace the garrulous Steve Florio as CEO early last year. It's the 21st century, and the top leadership at Conde Nast just got a little less idiosyncratic. Who'd a thunk it? What's next? A knockoff of Time Inc.'s Wal-Mart-distributed mag All You?