Justine Cullen, who has led Elle Australia since its modern inception in 2013 under Bauer Media through a licensing deal with Hearst, revealed her departure on Tuesday via Instagram. Her seemingly abrupt departure marks the second such editor exit at a Bauer-Hearst title in just over a month. Kellie Hush, editor in chief of Harper’s Bazaar Australia, similarly revealed in early August her exit after six years at the helm, saying she’s off to start a fashion brand.
As for Cullen, who started her career 28 years ago at Elle as an intern, she cited a number of reasons for her exit, including excessive travel commitments, a growing family and a media industry that’s changing rapidly.
“Like many women my age and in my situation, I’m realizing that this thing I’ve been so focused on my whole life doesn’t actually work for me anymore,” Cullen wrote.
She added that so far this year, she’s flown the “equivalent of around the world six times” and lamented, with a fourth son on the way, that this has meant “a lot of bedtime stories missed in the name of fashion.” Cullen went on to say that she’s been “doggedly determined to ‘have it all'” but feels it’s time to simply “move on.”
“This industry is changing. I’ve had the best of it,” Cullen wrote. “My priorities have changed, too, and the work I do, how and why I do it, needs to change with them.”
Cullen added: “Helming this magazine during this powerful era of womanhood and yes, even at this challenging time in publishing (from restriction breeds creativity!), is something I will always consider a gift. I leave her in the team’s capable hands, coming off consecutive year-on-year readership increases in print and with the strongest digital business in the company.”
Fiorella Di Santo, general manager of Bauer Media and publisher of Elle, cited the magazine’s innovative content and awards for covers under Cullen’s leadership and also a continuous year-over-year growth in readership. She added, “Justine’s contribution not only to Elle but also o the magazine industry has been significant.”
Bauer said in a statement that Genevra Leek will become acting editor in chief of Elle Australia, following Cullen’s departure.
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