Talk Show? Cooper prepares a gentlemanly exit

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Art Cooper, editor in chief of Conde Nast Publications' GQ, walked into his boss' office Feb. 24 at 7 a.m. and emerged with a retirement date of June 1, almost 20 years to the day he took over what was then an obscure men's fashion title. While some say he was pushed, he insists the decision was his. But as Conde Nast seeks a successor-candidates are said to include the editor of British GQ, Dylan Jones-it seems clear GQ has to change to compete in a men's field now dominated by laddie titles such as Maxim.

Talk of Mr. Cooper's departure began to swirl in January, around the same time he climbed the stage in the grand ballroom of New York City's Waldorf-Astoria to accept a lifetime achievement award. But denials were issued by Conde Nast President-CEO Steven T. Florio as well as Mr. Cooper right until that meeting with S.I. Newhouse Jr., the mercurial Conde Nast chairman. Mr. Cooper discussed the state of the men's category, the role of magazines and his future plans, including his wish to be a TV talk show host.

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