OUT OF THE WEB: The managing editor of Portfolio.com, Chris Jones, revealed his departure to staff on Wednesday, a sign that Portfolio’s personnel woes aren’t limited to print. Jones, who gave notice to editor in chief Joanne Lipman a month ago, had told friends he was unhappy. Edward Felsenthal, formerly a deputy managing editor of The Wall Street Journal, was brought in to consult, including on the Web site, though Lipman wrote WWD in an e-mail late Wednesday that “Chris made his decision long before Edward arrived, and there’s no connection between the two events.” Jones also reportedly clashed with Lipman about hiring choices, according to three sources close to the magazine, though he did win battles on hiring former Daily News gossip columnist Lloyd Grove and former Radar and WWD reporter Jeff Bercovici. Lipman denied this.
Relations also were strained with his staff, according to three sources. Jones, who has agreed to stay on through the end of next month as a consultant, did not return calls for comment. Mark Stein, the senior news editor of the Web site, will be interim deputy editor until a replacement is found. A spokeswoman for the magazine said Web traffic has met or exceeded expectations, and provided figures showing a growth of monthly unique visitors from around 300,000 in the spring to just over a million estimated in October.
Still, more changes may be afoot: high-level discussion is said to be under way about divesting Lipman of oversight of the Web site, with a possible new reporting structure to Portfolio.com’s general manager, Ari Brandt, on the business side. (Like Jones, Brandt came from Yahoo!, where such reporting structures are in place.) The magazine’s spokeswoman denied there was any such plan in the works.
— Irin Carmon
NEW MODEL: Former Creative Artists Agency agent Kevin Iwashina is bringing Hollywood to the model business. Iwashina, who was in charge of financing and distribution for the Academy Award-winning movie “Crash,” has joined forces with a group of private investors to acquire the men’s division of IMG Models. The new agency, Public Image Worldwide, will be run by former IMG Men’s director Chris Forberg and approximately 95 percent of IMG’s male clients are expected to join the new agency. The current roster of clients includes Tyson Ballou, Clement Chabernaud, Clint Mauro, Albert Reed, RJ, Jason Shaw and Aaron Ward. “We will transition out of IMG over the next 30 days,” Iwashina said. He also plans to add endorsements and licensing to the business, and eventually, female models.
— Amy Wicks
This story first appeared in the October 25, 2007 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
BIG BASH: The last time Alpha Media Group assembled at the Cellar Bar in the Bryant Park Hotel, it was to toast its new ownership for the first time as a company. But while staffers mingled that late August afternoon, Maxim editor in chief Jimmy Jellinek was told he would no longer helm the magazine. The party held Tuesday night had a much happier vibe — Alpha chief executive officer Kent Brownridge gathered the Maxim staff together to celebrate the largest issue of the magazine in five years. The December issue closed with 137 ad pages, thanks to 11 new advertisers. Meanwhile, Blender may be getting a new look soon — the magazine hired creative director Dirk Barnett, formerly of the New York Times’ Key and Play magazines. Barnett replaces Andy Turnbull, who will leave the company at the end of next month.
— Stephanie D. Smith