NOW HIRING: Could Richard Beckman be having some trouble finding a replacement for Suzanne Grimes? The former Glamour publisher last week left her post as Condé Nast Media Group senior vice president to join longtime chum Mary Berner at Reader’s Digest Association. As time passes without an announcement of her replacement, buzz in the halls of 4 Times Square on who will take the job continues to grow. Some insiders thought the company would have announced a replacement by the end of last week, but sources say a candidate still has not been singled out for Grimes’ job.
Sources say Allure vice president and publisher Nancy Berger Cardone and W president and publisher Nina Lawrence were both approached for the job, but neither is apparently interested in making the move. New Yorker vice president and publisher Lou Cona and Lisa Hughes, vice president and publisher of Condé Nast Traveler, have also been named as likely candidates, as has Giulio Capua, vice president and publisher of Architectural Digest. But though various names have been circulated for the job, it’s unclear whether any Condé Nast publisher wants to give up his or her current gig to move to the Media Group.
The ideal replacement, according to sources, is an in-house publisher who is patient and on an even keel in terms of personality to meet the demands of both the company and its advertisers. “You have to be very diplomatic. You have 29 publishers to keep happy at different magazines,” said one source. Additionally, “you’re negotiating with clients, so you have to like that bantering back and forth.”
The job also requires working with, and reporting to, Media Group president Beckman. And those familiar with Beckman’s management style describe him, in the most diplomatic and understated of terms, as a “demanding” and “very hands-on” manager. “You have a huge amount of autonomy as a publisher,” said one Condé executive. “Most of us really like that. To give that up and go back into that role where you’re like an associate publisher and your boss is right there telling you how to do stuff, on a day-to-day basis, it might be more of a challenge.”
This story first appeared in the March 21, 2007 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
In light of that challenge, some publishers are thinking twice about gunning for the corporate title. “If you’re a publisher and running your autonomous show, [there are] pros and cons about [the Grimes position],” said one. “Most of the publishers see the cons clearly. You go from a relative degree of autonomy to a degree of subservience. That’s a strong disincentive.”
Though finding the right person may take some time, the search may also be delayed until Beckman returns from the West Coast, where he’s been since the beginning of the week. Beckman was not available for comment by press time.
Meanwhile, Berner loyalist Eva Dillon, former Cookie vice president and publisher who followed Grimes out of 4 Times Square last week to become president and group publisher of Reader’s Digest, took her first lieutenant to RDA’s headquarters. Heddy Sams, Cookie’s associate publisher, advertising, resigned this week and is joining Dillon as advertising director. — Stephanie D. Smith
PINK AGAIN: Apparently, some people don’t read the fine print. After Q magazine’s spring issue reached readers, Arnold Scaasi received several phone calls from customers looking for the pink satin dress on the cover. “One woman was really irate. She said, ‘Why didn’t you show me that one?'” Scaasi said. Trouble was, the dress was designed in 1963, as indicated on the cover. More Scaasi flashbacks can be found in the 12-page “Living Legend” feature about his 50-year career. But sticking with the here-and-now, Scaasi has found a way to appease a few clients who were determined to have the pink satin dress. “I’m making three of them,” he said. — Rosemary Feitelberg