Conde Nast International Chairman Jonathon Newhouse flew into Sydney from London to make the announcement to staff: "Peter Gaunt and the senior management of Conde Nast International have agreed that Peter will step down from his position as managing director of Conde Nast Australia, effec-tive immediately."
Mr. Gaunt spoke to the Daily World Wire from his home Feb. 4 and described the parting as amicable. "All I'm going to say on this matter is that Conde Nast has been through a very turbulent time. One only has to look at the myriad of newspaper articles and comment that have occurred over the last year or so." Mr. Gaunt joined Conde Nast in December 1996. His departure follows two years of upheaval at Conde Nast sparking an endless round of rumors, in particular about the company's flagship title, Vogue Australia. The magazine has also seen the sackings of two editors, Nancy Pilcher and Marion Hume.
In August last year, the magazine cut its advertising rate by a third. A week later, rumors that sales had plummeted were confirmed when Audit Bureau of Circulations released figures showing the magazine's Australian sales fell 21.2% to 48,180 in the six months to June 30.
Mr. Newhouse said an international search had begun to find a replacement for Mr. Gaunt. In the interim, Mr. Newhouse will become cochairman of Conde Nast Australia and take on more involvement in the business. Advertising and editorial departments will report directly to Mr. Newhouse.
Copyright February 1999, Crain Communications Inc.