Layoffs, Reshuffling Begin at Conde Nast

Video Execs Could Also See a Shakeup

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Conde Nast publishes Vanity Fair, among many other titles.
Conde Nast publishes Vanity Fair, among many other titles.

Conde Nast began laying off employees of its corporate sales division this week, according to people with knowledge of the matter. The job cuts could number in the 70s, they said, confirming a Wall Street Journal report from earlier this week.

A spokesman for Conde Nast declined to comment.

The layoffs are targeted to Conde Nast Media Group, which sells ad programs spanning the company's magazines and their websites. Until Friday, about 200 people worked in this division. And some staffers were moved to individual titles at Conde Nast, which publishes 17 magazines including Vogue, Vanity Fair, Glamour, GQ, Wired, The New Yorker, Bon Appetit, W, Allure, Self and Architectural Digest as well as websites Epicurious, and Ars Technica.

There are also discussions about moving top executives from Conde Nast Entertainment, the company's video division, to the Media Group, people familiar with the matter said. That would likely not include Dawn Ostroff, president of Conde Nast Entertainment, who oversees content creation. The staffers potentially moving to the Media Group are charged with overseeing the business side.

Publishers of the company's various titles are expected to gather Tuesday in New York for a quarterly meeting with Conde Nast President Bob Sauerberg.

The actions come two months after Conde Nast named Vanity Fair Publisher Edward Menicheschi president of the Media Group, replacing Lou Cona, who held the position since 2010.

Cuts to the group are partly a result of this transition, with Mr. Menicheschi reshaping the department to fuel his mandate of increasing revenue on the digital side. But the reduction in staff also comes during a particularly tough year for traditional media companies, including Conde Nast. Print ad pages, where the company generates the bulk of its revenue, were down through the third quarter of this year, according to Media Industry Newsletter. Digital has grown sharply, but these gains have not made up for losses elsewhere.

A number of changes washed across the company this summer, with not only Mr. Menicheschi's appointment, but also the departure of key executives, including longtime editorial director Tom Wallace. Vogue Editor in Chief Anna Wintour, who is also Conde Nast's artistic director, was given a broader mandate, while Mr. Sauerberg consolidated power.

The company also sold Fairchild Fashion Media, publisher of Women's Wear Daily, to Penske Media for about $100 million. And it spun off Lucky magazine into a separate company.

Although Friday's job cuts are limited to the Media Group, layoffs could extend to the individual magazines, including the editorial side, according to people familiar with the magazines' budgets. Magazines, which are currently budgeting for 2015, are under greater financial scrutiny since S.I. Newhouse, Jr., the company's longtime chairman, retired last year. Now, each title is given a bottom-line number it must reach, either by growing revenue or trimming costs. High-ranking employees have said job reductions at the magazines appear inevitable.

At the same time, certain titles have recently added staff. On Thursday, GQ tapped Matthew Schnipper, the former editor in chief of music magazine Fader, to serve as senior editor. Also this week, Bon Appetit hired's Raphael Brion to edit the magazine's website.

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