It's been eight months since Lou Cona abandoned Time Inc., where he was the publisher for In Style, to join Conde Nast Publications as publisher of their hot Vanity Fair. So Lou and I lunched at Michael's in Manhattan where he brought me up to speed. First, why leave one good job for another? "Steve Florio called. At first, I wasn't tempted. Then, well, it IS Vanity Fair! I talked it over at home (wife and three kids) and remembered what my father always said, "Finish what you start." But In Style had arrived. Daddy Cona was a commercial fisherman out of Sheepshead Bay and Freeport, Long Island, and Lou worked on the boats. He prefers magazines. Lou says despite everything, Vanity Fair had its best revenue year ever in 2001 and trailed only the year 2000 in ad pages, 1,923 this time vs. 2,078 last year. Circ is a healthy 1 million and it's delivering 1.1, he says. Lou says January and February will be soft, April (the annual movies issue) will be huge, and he doesn't expect a genuine upturn until the second half. Meanwhile, considering the audience is 80% female, he's hired sales star Lucille Duran as exec beauty director.
New retail ad manager for the New York Post is Chris Golden, formerly with the Chicago Trib and Ad Age. Stout fellow.
There'll always be an English eccentric: in the Book Review of The New York Times Hilary Spurling reminds of one of Iris Murdoch's Oxford tutors, "who liked to teach from the floor, rolled up in his carpet and sucking a razor blade ... famous for stabbing himself with his pen in public lectures."
Must reads: Michael Starr's TV column in the New York Post.
Hires at YM by new Editor Christina Kelly include Lori Majewski as exec editor. She was a founding ed. for Teen People. YM also goes from 10 to 11 issues, heading toward monthly.
Gruner & Jahr USA has a new president of their Business Innovator Group Resources, David Evans. Howard Kaplan becomes VP-marketing in the G & J unit.
Exec director Sandy Josephson, one of the best known people in the radio biz, exits trade association New York Market Radio after 14 years.
Next Feb. 7 the Four A's, USA Today and History Channel host a reception and dinner at Cipriani on 42nd Street in Manhattan to celebrate "the 10 most popular TV commercials of the last quarter-century," titled, "Whassup in Advertising."