GQ's Chris Mitchell Named Vanity Fair Publisher as Conde Changes Keep Coming

Wired Publisher Howard Mittman Moves to GQ

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Chris Mitchell was named VP-publisher of Vanity Fair.
Chris Mitchell was named VP-publisher of Vanity Fair.

Conde Nast has named Chris Mitchell, VP-publisher of GQ, to the same position at sibling title Vanity Fair. Wired magazine VP-Publisher Howard Mittman will succeed Mr. Mitchell at GQ, the company said.

No successor has been named for Mr. Mittman.

The announcements come two weeks after Conde Nast promoted Vanity Fair VP-publisher Edward Menicheschi to CMO-president of the Conde Nast Media Group, which sells ad programs spanning the company's brands. Mr. Menicheschi succeeded Lou Cona, who is leaving the company.

"Vanity Fair is one of Condé Nast's -- if not the industry's -- most significant and profitable brands," said Bob Sauerberg, president of Conde Nast, in a statement Friday morning. Mr. Sauerberg cited Mr. Mitchell's digital experience and relationships with luxury and fashion advertisers.

Mr. Mittman may not have as many connections with fashion marketers to bring from Wired to GQ, but has helped Wired broaden its ad base beyond endemic tech-centric or business-to-business advertising.

Mr. Mitchell, who joined GQ in 2011, is a Conde Nast veteran, having held publisher roles at Conde Nast Traveler, Wired Media and Details, among other duties. (His wife, Pilar Guzman, is the editor in chief of Traveler.) But Vanity Fair will be Mr. Mitchell's largest assignment to date. The magazine still casts a wide shadow among Hollywood elite, and its paid circulation through the first six months of 2014 averaged 1.2 million per issue, according to the Alliance for Audited Media, which tracks magazine circulation. That's roughly the same as the previous year, despite a newsstand sales decline of 12%.

Print ad pages at Vanity Fair are off about 1.2% through its September issue, according to Media Industry Newsletter. Monthlies overall have seen ad pages decline 5.6% during that period.

Wired, meanwhile, has seen a sharp drop in print ad pages -- 24.5% -- but it also ranks as the first, and currently only, Conde Nast title to draw roughly half its ad revenue from digital sales. GQ, by comparison, gets just 15% of its ad sales from digital, though the magazine has taken steps lately to boost that percentage. Wired has also carved out a lucrative events business, and its paid and verified circulation climbed nearly 8% in the first half to 917,580.

"Howard is one of the best business leaders in our industry," Mr. Sauerberg said in the statement. "He has led Wired to record success on all platforms and has contributed significantly to the company's digital growth."

The appointments of Messrs. Mittman and Mitchell are only the latest changes at Conde Nast, whose other titles include Vogue, Glamour, Bon Appetit, The New Yorker and Allure. This week, it named Gina Sanders, who had been president and CEO of Fairchild Fashion Media, to the newly created job of president of global development. Ms. Sanders moved over to Conde Nast last month when the company sold Fairchild, publisher of Women's Wear Daily and other trade publications, to Penske Media for a reported $100 million. This week, The New York Times said Fairchild had lost $50 million in just the last five years.

Also, last month, Conde Nast said it was spinning off Lucky magazine into a separate company. And in July, the company reshuffled its executive ranks, consolidating some power under Conde Nast President Bob Sauerberg and giving Vogue Editor and Conde Nast Artistic Director Anna Wintour more influence over the magazines. Tom Wallace, the company's longtime editorial director, left the company.

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