NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Richard Beckman's long reign at Conde Nast is coming to end this Friday, Conde Nast said today. He resigned at 9 a.m. this morning, a Conde spokeswoman said, concluding a dramatic run at the company that began 24 years ago and sometimes seemed likely to eventually deliver him the top spot.
Mr. Beckman will instead become CEO of e5 Global Media, a new joint venture between Pluribus Capital Management and Guggenheim Partners created just last month to acquire Nielsen trades including The Hollywood Reporter, Billboard and AdWeek.
"I have wanted to work with Richard since the first time I met him more than a decade ago," said James Finkelsetein of Pluribus Capital and chairman of e5 Global Media, in a statement today. "His brilliance and imagination will be a perfect match for e5's portfolio of assets, with its focus on music, film, entertainment and the advertising world."Rumors of Mr. Beckman's departure for the new job appeared first in The New York Post on Tuesday morning. Mr. Beckman was not available for comment on deadline.
Distress at Fairchild
Fairchild staffers were surprised and even distressed to hear the news of Mr. Beckman's departure because he had only recently unveiled a forward-leaning set of initiatives including plans for a new reality show, conferences and a men's fashion trade. He clearly had been empowered by Conde to try to make much more of Fairchild; it's unclear whether whoever succeeds him will have as much carte blanche. And then there's also concern that he will now poach the very lieutenants he installed at Fairchild, displacing prior Fairchild staffers in the process.
Mr. Beckman spent most of his Conde career at Conde proper, as publisher of magazines including Vogue and Conde Nast Traveler. Then as Conde's chief marketing officer, Mr. Beckman helped create the company's media division early last decade, becoming president of the newly christened Conde Nast Media Group in 2004. There he built huge programs like Fashion Rocks, although that was discontinued in 2009 amid the recession, and took credit for 80% of Conde Nast's ad revenue, although publishers at individual titles often griped that he was getting credit for sales they originated. His strong performance and his sometimes abrasive management style, in fact, long seemed to be his biggest assets and weaknesses.
Last March he was named president-CEO at Conde's less glamorous Fairchild division, housed in a building on Third Avenue far from Conde Nast's central headquarters in Times Square.