After five months, Vogue publisher Condé Nast is on Thursday reversing the pay cuts it made for U.S. employees as the coronavirus wreaked havoc on already fragile advertising revenues.
Among those about to see their pay return to pre-pandemic levels are chief executive officer Roger Lynch and Vogue editor in chief and Condé Nast artistic director Anna Wintour, who respectively took a 50 percent and 20 percent cut to their base salaries.
Lynch, who joined the company in 2019, revealed the pay cuts in mid-April. Outside of the c-suite, they impacted those making more than $100,000 with cuts of between 10 percent and 20 percent and were effective from May 1 through the end of September. In addition to the U.S., the company implemented pay cuts across all markets, including London, Italy and Paris, but it did not confirm if salaries would also be fully restored internationally.
“While we aren’t as solely dependent on print and digital display advertising as some of our competitors, globally, we will still see a substantial impact from this crisis on our business,” Lynch said of the cuts in a staff memo this spring. “It’s very likely our advertising clients, consumers and, therefore, our company will be operating under significant financial pressure for some time. As a result, we’ll need to go beyond the initial cost-saving measures we put in place to protect our business for the long term.”
While the pay restoration in the U.S. will no doubt be welcomed by staffers, the fact that Lynch and Wintour, one of the highest-paid executives in the company, will also return to their full pay will likely ruffle some feathers, especially in the midst of layoffs and failed contract negotiations between some Bon Appétit journalists and Condé Nast Entertainment, causing a number to quit the popular Test Kitchen, stating that the media company refused to compensate them adequately.
It also comes amid a dispute between unionized staffers at The New Yorker and executives over the former asking for a “just cause” measure in their contracts so standards must be met prior to a termination. According to The New York Times, this led Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Elizabeth Warren to pull out of the upcoming virtual The New Yorker conference in solidarity with staffers, who will hold a digital informational picket on Monday.
As well as cutting pay, Condé Nast cut working hours and work-week schedules, such as three-to four-day work weeks for certain roles, “in particular where government programs and stimulus packages can help supplement employees’ earnings.” This was followed with further cuts in the U.S. in May when the publisher laid off around 100 staffers and furloughed another 100 employees. It did not provide an update on furloughed staffers.
Separately, the publisher on Tuesday named Yashica Olden as its global chief diversity and inclusion officer. Its director of inclusion and diversity for the U.S. market, Erica Lovett, just joined Cartier as head of D&I. In her new role, Olden will be responsible for developing and implementing diversity and inclusion strategies across the company’s global portfolio of brands and divisions. She was most recently executive director of inclusion and diversity on WPP’s global culture team. Over the past few months the company has been put under the spotlight for its poor record on diversity and inclusion.
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