Jay Fielden’s sudden exit as editor in chief of Esquire isn’t the only shake-up expected at the men’s magazine.
Beyond Fielden’s departure, first reported by WWD, his number two, Michael Hainey, is said to be officially exiting as well. Hainey serves as executive director of editorial for Esquire, as well as editorial director of Town & Country, and is said to be leaving both positions within the next week or two. Fielden in 2016 brought Hainey on from Condé Nast’s GQ, where he’d been for about 17 years and started the magazine’s web site, citing his expertise in “the art of great magazine making.” He’s thought to have maintained a rather strict focus on print, as until recently the print and digital side of the business have been operated separately. But under digital- and data-driven Hearst Magazines president, Troy Young, those divides are largely coming down.
Although he is said to have been in consideration early this year for the editor in chief role of Gawker 2.0, now under the ownership of Bryan Goldberg’s Bustle Digital Group, Hainey is said to have turned it down. The position subsequently went to Dan Peres, former editor in chief of defunct Condé Nast magazine Details, who is working to fill out the masthead and relaunch the site, once the pinnacle of gossip reporting overflowing with snark. A BDG spokeswoman declined to comment on personnel matters. At any rate, Hainey is thought to already be onto his next venture in media, though what exactly it will be remains to be seen.
Elsewhere at Esquire, Nick Sullivan, who’s been fashion director since 2004, is thought to be sticking around and even getting a bump up the masthead. It’s unclear what his title would be, but it’s believed Sullivan isn’t getting the editor in chief job. He is, though, said to be well liked, inside Hearst and in the fashion market, and more adept at Instagram and digital, the latter of which are particularly important to the new reign of Hearst Magazines executives.
Further down the masthead, there is expected to be a fuller integration of staffers working on digital and print, which still have some separation between them. This is happening across the magazines business under Young and chief content officer Kate Lewis, who are looking to grow the digital business and other areas of revenue, like e-commerce and branded content. Staffers are largely expected to work across platforms and be data-savvy so it can inform their work. Those who don’t show an aptitude for digital or simply wish to focus on print revenue — which still accounts for the bulk of the revenue of the magazines’ business — don’t seem long for Hearst under the Young regime, if other recent departures and leadership changes are anything to go by.
As for who might get the top spot at Esquire, names are flying but none seem to be the winner. Internal candidates like Richard Dorment of Men’s Health and Ryan D’Agostino of Popular Mechanics have been in consideration, as has Greg Veis of Huffington Post vertical Highline, but the job is thought to be still up for the taking. An announcement is expected in the next few weeks.
A Hearst representative could not be reached for comment.
Editor’s Note: This story was amended after its initial publication to more accurately reflect Hainey’s interaction with BDG.
For More, See: