Whitney Vargas, the executive editor of T: The New York Times Magazine, who had been serving as interim editor in chief, has left the publication. Vargas, who was in the running for the top editor job at T, had been the right hand to editor Deborah Needleman, who unexpectedly exited the title in November.
A successor to Needleman has yet to be named.
The Times’ executive editor Dean Baquet sent out a memo last week notifying staff of Vargas’ departure. “By now, many of you know that Whitney Vargas has left the company. Whitney has been a superb editor and I’m grateful for her leadership during her tenure with T Magazine,” he said, while underscoring the importance of T to The Times.
“There is an active, robust search underway for a new editor of T, an innovative leader who will advance the tradition of a beautiful magazine that sets the global standard for coverage of fashion, art and culture,” he continued. “This is one of the most important jobs in the industry and the interest we’ve seen from a vast array of talent matches the significance of the role. I expect to make a decision on this position within a few weeks.”
Baquet praised Minju Pak, the managing editor, and T’s team.
While there has been plenty of buzz about who could take Needleman’s job, there have been few concrete moves. One source said that following Needleman’s departure, top Times editors began cobbling together a list of 16-plus possible candidates. Those said to be in the running include W editor in chief Stefano Tonchi, who, if he landed the job, would be returning to the role, as well as his W colleagues, deputy editor Armand Limnander and features editor Alix Browne. Jessica Diehl, Vanity Fair’s style director, is also said to be in the mix. There has been speculation that former InStyle editorial director Ariel Foxman and The Cut’s editorial director Stella Bugbee are plausible candidates, but so far that remains simply rumor.
While the duration of the process may strike some fashion world navel gazers as curious, it should be noted that The Times is in the process of reorganizing its newsroom to better address the coverage of President Trump’s White House, not to mention focus its entire news-gathering operation more on digital.