Cracks Appear In Conde Nast's Glossy Facade

"Busted banquettes in the once-gleaming Frank Gehry cafeteria" (boo-hoo!), a budget-minded editorial director -- all signs that Condé Nast may be losing its “ineffable lustre that long captivated advertisers and readers" and helped its "stable of glossies" become "one of the most influential corporate architects of consumer aspiration," writes Kat Stoeffel.

It's not only the obvious reason -- loss of revenue due to print's downward spiral -- creating the cracks in the glossy kingdom. Anonymous "insiders" Stoeffel cites also mention the waning influence of Si Newhouse, the 84-year-old chairman who built up a company culture devoted to style, culture  and luxury rather than just profit.

Now the company is chasing profit more baldly, with President Bob Sauerberg having "reconfigured the top of the company to look less like a magazine publisher, and more like a sales and marketing organization, inventing at least three new positions and eliminating dozens more," writes Stoeffel. "Critics note that Mr. Sauerberg’s slew of new divisions have yet to yield anything lucrative, and the new team’s mandates are only growing more urgent as Condé Nast’s core businesses fade."

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Tags: magazines
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