CONDÉ SHRINKS TO FIT: Condé Nast eliminated more than 50 corporate staffers Friday, reducing its media group by at least 25 percent. The layoffs confirmed rumors of impending budget cuts, which are ongoing and are believed to be between 10 and 30 percent across the board. This comes on top of a hiring freeze that took hold over the summer.
This story first appeared in the October 20, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Condé Nast declined to comment.
The majority of Friday’s cuts come from the company’s media group, which is run by Edward Menicheschi. That group has more than 200 staffers, and thus the job losses constitute at least a 25 percent reduction. Sources told WWD that a couple of more jobs would be eliminated from the business side.
Menicheschi, the former Vanity Fair publisher, took the reins as chief marketing officer and president in August, following the dismissal of Lou Cona, chief revenue officer. Insiders said a restructuring at Condé Nast reflects a mandate to reduce costs in the face of a difficult year in publishing overall. It also underpins the need for the company to begin evolving its digital media business.
More layoffs are expected to follow, as publishers of Condé Nast magazines will meet with president Bob Sauerberg on Tuesday. At that quarterly meeting, publishers will go over their budgets and evaluate how close they are to hitting their year-end numbers. This will dictate how much cutting is left per magazine, a source said.
For titles that are amid a reinvention, like Self — which began its masthead and design rehaul in May with new editor in chief Joyce Chang — hitting targets could prove to be a challenge.
One way publishers across the industry are trying to drum up extra cash is by launching events, a tactic that Condé Nast’s Vanity Fair has taken up recently with its New Establishment Summit. The jury is still out on whether that endeavor was profitable, although it did create a new stream of revenue and added attention for the magazine.
In order to shore up dollars as it transitions its business model, Condé will move its headquarters from 4 Times Square to 1 World Trade Center later this year. Office space in the new building is not only smaller, but the price tag is also more economical. According to reports, the company garnered tax exemptions and other incentives such as furnishings and $46 million in rent rebates when it inked a 25-year contract worth $2 billion.