Conde Nast loses another exec VP as Clinton quits

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Conde Nast Publications' Michael Clinton resigned late last week after a further consolidation of power under President-CEO Steven T. Florio left the exec VP with reduced responsibilities.

Mr. Florio, known for his hands-on management style, said he saw "no reason" to fill the vacancy left by Mr. Clinton, who told Advertising Age he was leaving to "move on to other adventures."

Mr. Clinton is the second exec VP to leave Conde Nast in the past three months. Jack Kliger was named exec VP of Advance Publications' Parade at the end of May, and his position was also left unfilled. The Newhouse family owns both Conde Nast and Advance.


Messrs. Clinton and Kliger, longtime associates, are said to have confided in colleagues that the Conde Nast corporate jobs had become unchallenging.

Mr. Clinton until recently oversaw corporate research, licensing and new media. But Steve Blacker, VP-market research, and Sarah Chubb, director of CondeNet, now report directly to Mr. Florio. That left Mr. Clinton with only administrative duties such as pricing special ad sections.

"I thought there would be enough administrative stuff to keep Michael busy, but he told me it was not what he wanted to do," Mr. Florio said.

All 15 Conde Nast publishers report to Mr. Florio, who also controls editors' compensation.

Messrs. Clinton and Kliger had been promoted to the corporate slots when the Conde Nast organizational chart still resembled that of Mr. Florio's predecessor, Bernard Leser. The two executives both moved to those posts after the retirements of Leser deputies, Joseph Fuchs and John Brunelle.

Mr. Kliger, who before moving up to corporate was publisher of Glamour, held the Conde Nast exec VP title from October 1994 until he left in May. Mr. Clinton became an exec VP in September 1996, when he was promoted from corporate VP-group sales and marketing. Before heading corporate sales, Mr. Clinton--who joined Conde Nast in 1984--was publisher of GQ.


"My predecessor had a very different job than I do," Mr. Florio said. "I'm not only the CEO, I'm the chief marketing officer and the chief financial officer. I'm trying to run this place hands-on with [Conde Nast Chairman S.I. Newhouse Jr.], and it's working. We're having another record year."

Some observers, however, viewed the departure of the Conde Nast veteran as a loss; staffers were said to be stunned by an Aug. 22 internal memo announcing Mr. Clinton's exit.

Conde Nast still has two exec VPs, whose duties are unchanged. Catherine Viscardi Johnston was promoted to the post earlier this month, and oversees database marketing and corporate sales. Chuck Townsend, who joined Conde Nast in 1994, has operational responsibilities.

Copyright August 1997, Crain Communications Inc.

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