EXIT, QUICKLY: When Tom Florio lured Carol Smith away from her top perch as chief brand officer at Elle magazine to take on the food group at Condé Nast six months ago, no one would have predicted that it would all be over so fast.
Smith, who was installed at Condé as vice president and publishing director in April, was fired on Thursday.
This story first appeared in the October 29, 2010 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Sources said Smith was initially caught off guard when chief administrative officer Jill Bright delivered the news to her. Nevertheless, the unhappiness was a two-way street.
“The opportunity turned out not to be what either Condé Nast or I expected,” said Smith in a statement sent out by the company.
“She made it very clear she was unhappy,” said one Condé insider, referring to Smith. “She might have been too vocal about how unhappy she was.”
Smith had grown increasingly frustrated that the job opportunity she was presented with back in April never came to fruition.
“It’s a hard company to come into at the top, especially when you step into a job that didn’t exist before,” said one insider.
Shortly after Smith came on board, it appeared she wasn’t involved in the roll out of Gourmet Live, and, more recently, sources said she wasn’t consulted about a successor for Bon Appetit’s departing editor in chief Barbara Fairchild. Sources said Smith butted heads with the longtime editor, though Smith is also hosting Fairchild’s farewell party next week at The Lambs Club on 44th Street.
It also seems that unless your name is Bill Wackermann — who continues to increase his share of the Condé pie, now adding Bon Appétit and Gourmet Live to his existing stable of Glamour, W, Details and Brides — the super-publisher role is where Condé executives go to disappear. Both David Carey and Tom Florio were promoted to veritable super-publisher positions after having celebrated tenures as publishers. Both left the company this year.
“We are terrible with layers of management,” said a source. “We don’t do that well. We don’t know what their jobs are supposed to be.”
Paul Jowdy, who was once publisher of Bon Appétit but became senior executive director when Smith was brought in, will return to his old position.
The new editor of Bon Appétit will be named early next week, said a spokeswoman. — Amy Wicks and John Koblin
BAUER’S NEW MAN: Bauer Media unveiled the pilot issue of its new weekly men’s title, Gaz7etta (the “7” in the title refers to the seven days a week the magazine covers), in London this week. Bauer stated that it aims for the title to “identify, decode and contextualize the key stories that are driving the world [successful men] live and work in.”
That translates into pieces such as a cover story on Roberto Mancini, the manager of England’s Manchester City football team, pegged on the rumors that he was mulling signing Wayne Rooney of rival team Manchester United. There’s also a gossipy story on Daniel Craig planning to quit the James Bond films, alongside a six-page story on Charles and Maurice Saatchi, dubbed “The Real Mad Men.”
Advertisers in the pilot issue include Moschino, Topman, Banana Republic and Chanel. Overall, the magazine strikes a glossier, more style-focused tone than that of its closest competitor Shortlist, the free weekly men’s magazine that launched in the U.K. in 2007, aimed at affluent male commuters. Bauer said Gaz7etta targets “upscale, thirtysomething men.”
Jane Bruton, editor in chief of U.K. Grazia, also published by Bauer, serves as editorial director of the magazine, while Andrew Pemberton is the editor.
Bauer has distributed more than 500,000 copies of the 60-page pilot issue, through fellow Bauer titles such as Q, Mojo and Grazia, via stores such as Harrods, Reiss and Topman and newspapers such as The Times, The Sunday Times and City A.M. While Bauer hasn’t confirmed a date for the title’s official launch, the company is said to be eyeing a date in early 2011. — Nina Jones
MEDIA THEORY: The New Yorker’s Ken Auletta moderated a breakfast panel on social networking at the Bryant Park Grill Thursday morning, where he was joined by Foursquare co-founder Dennis Crowley, Tumblr founder David Karp and new media writer Clay Shirky. As seems standard at such discussions in recent weeks, the hour-long talk made a brief detour into film criticism when the subject of “The Social Network” came up. Crowley said Foursquare’s entire staff saw the movie on a group outing, while Karp said his viewing was a bit of a novel experience.
“It made me want to go to college,” said Karp, who passed on academia to run his microblogging service. Auletta asked if the film’s mix of fact and fiction bothered him. “They killed Hitler in ‘Inglourious Basterds,’” Karp said to laughs. “I don’t know.…Who cares?” — Matthew Lynch