No replacement was named for Mr. Portale, 63.
His departure marks the second senior executive to leave the company thus far this year.
Last month John Fennell, executive vice president and chief operating officer, also left the publisher. Mr. Fennell had been the leading internal candidate for the CEO job that went to former Conde Nast executive Jack Kliger in 1999.
Last year, Elle posted the steepest ad page drop of the big fashion magazines, with ad pages falling 15.7%.