Employees at Condé Nast might want to make sure they pick up a copy of Sunday’s New York Times. According to sources, the paper will publish a sizable story by Richard Pérez-Peña on the business transition at Condé Nast, including a succession strategy for top executives, should Condé Nast chairman S.I. Newhouse Jr. retire. Sources said that several Condé executives, including president and chief executive officer Charles Townsend, chief marketing officer Richard Beckman, editorial director Tom Wallace, Vogue editor in chief Anna Wintour and The New Yorker editor David Remnick participated in the story. However, Newhouse apparently did not.
The feeling at 4 Times Square is that Newhouse isn’t retiring anytime soon — the company chairman is in good health, is known for his prompt early-morning arrival at his Times Square offices and is very involved in all aspects of the company. But those close to Newhouse have heard of a possible succession plan that involves the creation of a committee of several top Newhouse family members, including Steven Newhouse, head of Advance Publications’ Internet division, to oversee the Condé Nast empire collectively.
The Times tread similar waters in 2003, when David Carr wrote a lengthy piece on the publisher’s interworkings and outlined potential successors to Si Newhouse, but neither Si, his brother, Donald Newhouse, or nephew Steven Newhouse gave interviews for Carr’s article. A Times spokeswoman refused to confirm what is in the paper on Sunday. A Condé Nast spokeswoman did not return calls or e-mails by press time.