Conde Nast Warns Staffers of Tough Road Ahead

CEO Chuck Townsend Warns of Cutbacks

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Conde Nast CEO Charles Townsend warned staffers Thursday that more cutbacks were coming. In a memo that began by saluting Conde's "world-class brands and remarkable employees," the CEO strongly implied that it would soon have fewer such brands or employees.

Charles Townsend
Charles Townsend Credit: Hugh Stewart
"Unavoidably, as the downturn extends, we have to make additional difficult decisions to manage costs and ensure our financial well-being," he wrote. "These decisions involve all of us."

But for those who remain, the "benefits and the resources that were available" in "robust economic times" might come back on the other side of the recession, Mr. Townsend said. "We'll all have to do more with less and accept that some of the benefits and resources that were available to us in robust economic times will have to be scaled back -- and revisited when the economy and our business recover lost ground."

Conde, publisher of titles including Glamour and Vogue, has been busy recently trimming costs, re-evaluating its portfolio and re-assigning some top talent. It shut down Domino in January.

Read CEO Charles Townsend's full memo:

I continue to believe that there are two things that make our Company truly unique -- world-class brands and remarkable employees. This statement is even more true today as I watch how Conde Nast is managing through this challenging economy.

While advertising pages are down, Conde Nast is gaining critical ad revenue market share through the early part of 2009. Perhaps more importantly, our consumer connectivity, as measured in key circulation statistics, is particularly strong.

So, while our Company is not immune to the economic stress that has been experienced by the media community, we have made adjustments to secure our ongoing stability, just as each and every one of us has had to personally deal with the economic challenges we face.

Unavoidably, as the downturn extends, we have to make additional difficult decisions to manage costs and ensure our financial well-being. These decisions involve all of us. We'll all have to do more with less and accept that some of the benefits and resources that were available to us in robust economic times will have to be scaled back -- and revisited when the economy and our business recover lost ground.

The best course of action is for us to prudently and responsibly manage our business costs and expenses through these troubled waters, assuring us the opportunity to fully participate in the recovery that lies ahead. At that time, we will take great pride in what we accomplished.

I can only ask that you join me in these efforts to ensure the continued success of our great Company.

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