LONDON — After months of industry speculation, Tyler Brülé has stepped down as editorial director of the Wallpaper Group. He will be replaced temporarily by Christina Ferrari, the founder and former managing editor of Teen People, until a successor is found.
Brülé, meanwhile, will remain under the Time Inc. umbrella — for the moment, at least. He will serve as chief executive of Wink Media, the creative consultancy he launched in 1998.Brülé holds a phantom equity stake in the London-based Wink, and will receive a percentage of profits from the company, which advises brands on advertising and positioning.
“The deal with Wink is very favorable,” said Brülé in a telephone interview. “And I’m still a Time Inc. employee.”Industry sources, however, said Wink’s days under Time Inc. may be numbered. They said Brülé may try to buy Wink himself. He declined to comment on the speculation. A Time Inc. spokesman said there’s no specific timetable on how long Wink Media will remain part of Time Inc.
Brülé’s resignation as editor in chief of Wallpaper, which he launched in 1996, and of the fashion magazine Spruce, launched last year, came as no surprise. As reported, relations between Brülé and the magazine’s new management at IPC — acquired by Time Inc. last year — had become increasingly bitter since January.
Asked if he was nostalgic about leaving Wallpaper, which had been so closely associated with him over the years, Brülé replied: “Wallpaper isn’t the last magazine I’ll be editing.”
He said his plan is to add a “more editorial” component to Wink. “I’m first and foremost a journalist, and I have ideas for Wink projects that involve book publishing and television — maybe even working with a global broadcaster. And I’m currently working on a radio hosting project in Switzerland,” he said.
As acting editorial director, Ferrari will be commuting to London from Geneva, where she relocated last year. She has her work cut out for her — even in the short term. Over the last two years, Wallpaper has floundered — critics say it has lost its bite and become too mainstream — while the biannual fashion magazine Spruce has just published its second issue, but has failed to make a splash. Wallpaper, while having high visibility since its launch, remained a small title — its current circulation is only about 150,000 worldwide, which is tiny in the mega-circulation world of Time Inc. magazines.
As for Brülé’s successor, Norman Pearlstine, Time Inc.’s editor in chief, will spearhead the search in the U.S., while Mike Soutar, managing director of the Wallpaper Group here, will focus on the U.K. and Europe.