Conde Nast Lures Elle Publisher Carol Smith to Bon Appetit

As VP-Publishing Director, Takes Over Paul Jowdy's Post

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NEW YORK ( -- Conde Nast has poached Carol Smith from Hachette Filipacchi, where she was senior VP and chief brand officer for the Elle Group, to become VP and publishing director for Conde's Bon Appetit magazine and Gourmet brand.

Carol Smith
Carol Smith
Ms. Smith succeeds Paul Jowdy, who had been VP-publisher at Bon Appetit since 2006. He is staying with Conde Nast, a company spokeswoman said, in the new post of executive director for sales at Bon App and Gourmet, reporting to Ms. Smith. Elle VP and group publisher Anne Welch will be acting chief brand officer at the Elle Group until a successor to Ms. Smith is identified.

Elle had seen significant growth under Ms. Smith, who has led Elle's business side since 2002. She expanded the brand's business and presence in popular culture, partly through its now defunct partnership with Bravo's "Project Runway" and then Elle's own TV series "Stylista." Under her direction, Elle made Advertising Age's A-List in 2006, 2007 and 2008. Ms. Smith was named Ad Age's Executive of the Year in 2008.

Elle's ad pages increased 4.9% in the first quarter of this year, while its larger archrival Vogue saw ad pages slip 0.5%, according to the Media Industry Newsletter. Last year ad pages fell 20.6% at Elle and 31.2% at Vogue, according to the Publishers Information Bureau, leaving Elle the leader in ad pages for the fashion category. (Vogue reclaimed the ad-page lead in the first quarter of this year, according to the Media Industry Newsletter.)

Bon Appetit, which survived when Conde Nast shut down Gourmet last year, saw ad pages increase 3.8% in the first quarter after sinking 28.2% in 2009. One challenge facing Bon Appetit now that it has absorbed Gourmet's subscribers, however, is getting advertisers to pay the higher ad-page rates that come with a larger circulation.

"Carol will be a strategic asset in the business and brand development efforts for both Bon Appetit as it builds it presence across multiple platforms, and for Gourmet in its life as a product brand for Conde Nast," Conde Nast President-CEO Charles Townsend said in a statement.

Hachette, for its part, was the subject of rumors last year that its parent, the Lagardere Active division of Lagardere, was looking to pull up stakes in the United States. Hachette issued a statement last year denying "ongoing" talks to that end but did not issue any broader reassurance that it wanted to stay.

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