The changes keep coming at Condé Nast and it appears a continued consolidation with international operations has claimed chief digital officer Fred Santarpia.
In a memo to staffers highlighting the corporate and operational benefits of blending more with Condé Nast International, chief executive officer Bob Sauerberg didn’t actually get to Santarpia’s exit until almost the end. He first wrote of “the collaboration between Co/Lab and Condé Nast International’s product and technology teams,” the launch of a new international platform, the “months of hard work” it took and how all of the collaborative developments are “the start of a new era, where our digital and technology innovation can have a global impact.”
It wasn’t until even more talk of “common goals” between domestic and international operations, including the two companies working together more on product and tech development, supplier negotiations and fashion show products, that Sauerberg got to Santarpia, who is leaving in about two weeks.
Santarpia was the first to announce the departure on Instagram and Twitter, saying it is his decision to leave. He worked with Condé for almost seven years, first joining Condé Nast Entertainment before being promoted to lead digital in 2014.
“Unfortunately, there’s never a good time to say goodbye, but with the company’s digital foundation set, this is the right time for me to say farewell,” Santarpia wrote.
Sauerberg noted that Santarpia “has been a great digital leader, shepherding our nascent business through the continued development of Copilot and Spire and the cultural foundation from which we evolved.”
“Through dramatic upgrades to our digital products and performance, the ability to scale and monetize our audience and the development of critical digital partnerships, he successfully helped pave the way for a cohesive global effort and we will build on that foundation,” Sauerberg continued.
A replacement for Santarpia has not been named, but Sauerberg noted that he will be working with Santarpia’s remaining leadership team “to ensure a seamless transition.”
Santarpia’s team has shrunk this year. At least three digital operatives have already left, a big chunk of a relatively small team, including Matt Starker, who was general manager of digital.
These exits may well be related to Condé’s clearly deepening efforts to work with its international arm, and it seems the publisher may be inching toward operations that delineate between the two halves much less. Condé Nast Traveller in the U.S. is already set to operate as a single entity with the U.K. version, an effort of consolidation that could end up being repeated.
Also in Sauerberg’s memo (again before he got to Santarpia’s exit), is that the product and technology teams of domestic and international Condé will now be operated jointly. They will be led by Ed Cudahy of American Condé and Lee Wilkinson of international and report to Sauerberg and Wolfgang Blau, president of international.
“This move presents a huge opportunity to create a global product and technology team that will enable both companies to grow and thrive in the coming years,” Sauerberg said.
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