CRUNCH AT CONDÉ?: The mood at Condé Nast these days seems to range from fearful and on edge to anticipatory and apathetic. Word of a significant restructuring has loomed dormant for weeks, making way for wild speculation among staffers.
But the wait is likely to soon come to an end. WWD has learned that Condé Nast has tapped strategic advisory firm MediaLink to help reorganize the corporation. Sources believe the restructuring could come in early October, but others noted that different scenarios are still being mulled through and it may take more time.
Condé Nast declined to comment.
One scenario is the reduction of 13 publishers to just a handful. They would be organized based on category, such as luxury, for instance. Hearst has a similar model for certain titles and it is rumored to be considering more consolidation. Rival Time Inc. recently went through a drastic reorganization that entailed the role of publisher. Executives now sell by category, such as beauty. While Time Inc. has worked with MediaLink in the past, it could not be determined whether they used the firm in their current reorganization.
Condé has worked with MediaLink on events such as Cannes Lion and CES. In the past, the New York-based publisher has used advisory firm McKinsey for its go-to market strategy— and it hasn’t always taken its advice. The same may hold true with its current advisory firm.
What appears to be different this time around is that MediaLink has emerged as a force in today’s digital environment. Described as the media world’s “shadowy overlords” by Recode, MediaLink acts as a sort of connector for old media and new tech firms, while also operating as a strategic adviser.
Headed up by Michael Kassan and Wenda Harris Millard, MediaLink’s mission, as per its web site, is to work with organizations “that are not satisfied with maintaining the status quo.” While that mantra may sound generic and broad, the company positions itself differently than rivals McKinsey and Bain because it has an in-house executive search division, which may strike fear in the hearts of clients.