TATLER TALES: Who will replace Geordie Greig as editor of Tatler? Sources say Nicholas Coleridge, managing director of Condé Nast U.K., has been inundated with applications from wannabe editors and has narrowed the list down to seven. He plans to make an announcement within the week.
Greig resigned on Monday to take up the post of editor at London’s Evening Standard newspaper, and will join later this month when its new owner, Russian billionaire and former KGB agent Alexander Lebedev, puts the finishing touches on the deal.
This story first appeared in the February 3, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The magazine is in the thick of 300th anniversary preparations, with a big bash and a megaissue planned for the fall. The Tatler offices have been buzzing with names of candidates, which range from the comical — such as the social-climbing Princess Michael of Kent — to rising stars in the British magazine world.
The one name that keeps surfacing is Catherine Ostler, editor of ES Magazine, the celebrity, style and upscale gossip glossy that comes out every Friday with the Evening Standard. Well-respected and self-effacing, she also happens to be married to Albert Read, general manager of Condé Nast’s U.K. office, and a close associate of Coleridge.
Other names include Emily Sheffield, deputy editor of British Vogue and the younger sister of Smythson’s Samantha Cameron (who is married to the leader of the Conservative Party and perhaps the future prime minister, David Cameron). “Her rise at Condé Nast has been meteoric,” said a source of Sheffield. “And her connections would be useful, too.” Sheffield’s mother is the jewelry and furniture entrepreneur Annabel Jones — aka Lady Astor — and her father is Sir Reginald Sheffield.
Other possibilities include Vassi Chamberlain, a longtime Tatler staffer and now the magazine’s editor at large; Sarah Bailey, the former editor of British Elle and now deputy editor at Harper’s Bazaar U.K.; William Cash, the founder and editor in chief of Spear’s Wealth Management Survey, not to mention a regular fixture at Annabel’s, and Tiffanie Darke, editor of Sunday Times Style, the weekly supplement to the London Sunday Times.
Meanwhile, over at the loss-making Evening Standard, staffers are quaking about possible layoffs and life under a Russian oligarch’s regime. To thicken the plot, the utterly social Greig has never edited a daily newspaper, and loves being the top writer — he did most of Tatler’s major stories — from politicians to Hollywood actresses.
There are those who believe he’s up to the job, however. “Geordie was punching way below his weight at Tatler, where he had to operate under so many constraints,” said one media insider. “He couldn’t compete with Graydon [Carter] at Vanity Fair, and he couldn’t make Tatler too literary. He’ll use the Evening Standard as a forum to show what he can do — just wait and see.”
Another observer points to Greig’s dealmaking savvy. It was Greig, after all, who first introduced his pal Lebedev to the Evening Standard’s owner, Lord Rothermere. Greig also holds a stake in Lebedev’s new company, Evening Press Ltd., which owns the Standard.
“Say what you want about Geordie, but you sort of have to stand back in awe when you see what he’s just pulled off,” said another media source.