American Express is moving Departures and Centurion magazines to a digital-first platform and ending its publishing deal with Meredith Corp., resulting in layoffs.
The company, which publishes the magazines through an agreement with Meredith, said Departures’ spring home and design issue, and Centurion’s spring/summer edition, will be the final print issues in their current form and frequency published by People and InStyle owner Meredith.
“We regularly evolve our premium card offerings and have made the decision to transition the Departures and Centurion U.S. magazine benefits to a new digital-first editorial platform,” a spokeswoman said. “We look forward to continuing to provide our card members with the quality content they have come to know and love from the Departures and Centurion brands and will share more with them over the coming months.”
While the publications will move to a digital-first platform, American Express has not ruled out print as part of its future.
A representative for Meredith added that “regrettably, Meredith is laying off employees as a result of this decision,” although it has asked some employees to stay on to manage the transition between now and May 31, when the print issues officially shutter.
She did not disclose numbers, but those impacted by the layoffs include Departures editor in chief Jeffries Blackerby.
“I’m incredibly grateful for the opportunity to shepherd this brand for the last 4 years with the collaboration of a singularly talented team of editors and designers,” he posted on Instagram. “They’ve made it so much fun, and I couldn’t be prouder of the work we’ve done together and how we’ve evolved the Departures brand. It’s also a huge honor to have built upon the work of so many talented editors who spent time at Departures over the years — chief among them the late Richard Story. Departures is continuing on in a new format, and I’m rooting for it. But for now, it’s the end of an era.”
Giulio Capua, group publisher, will stay on to lead the sales and marketing teams of Meredith’s luxury group, which is comprised of Travel + Leisure and Food & Wine.
Departures was founded by American Express Publishing just over 30 years ago. It moved to Time Inc. in 2013 when that company purchased American Express Publishing. Meredith acquired Time Inc. in 2018. Throughout all this American Express owned the Departures brand and had a custom publishing agreement first with Time Inc., then with Meredith.
Earlier this month, former longtime Departures editor in chief Richard David Story died at age 68. He helmed the magazine for 17 years until 2017. Blackerby described Story as “one of the best magazine editors” that he has ever known. Having met Story in 2002 during his first run at Departures, Blackerby said, “He was just so exciting as a magazine editor. There wasn’t anything that wasn’t interesting to him. He just had such an appetite for information and storytelling.”
Most recently, Departures was published seven times a year and Centurion biannually. It’s understood that over the coming days, the Departures team and American Express will work with advertisers on any outstanding commitments. The two companies will continue to work together as advertising and marketing partners.
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