Will Schenck, a former chief revenue officer at the-then Fairchild Fashion Group, parent of WWD, died at home in Stamford, Conn., on Thursday following a battle with prostate cancer. He was 50.
“Will was a larger-than-life figure — he was smart, charismatic and outrageously funny,” said Peter Viles, who met Schenck at Broadcasting & Cable Magazine in 1992. “He had a huge network of friends, all bound together by his loyalty and his sense of humor. I’m so grateful to have been his friend for the past 25 years.”
Schenck joined Fairchild in 2010, tasked with overseeing revenue across the portfolio of brands.
“Will was a spirited straight shooter with a soft side that he didn’t always show. His toughness and creativity as a publisher were matched by his incredible energy and versatility,” WWD’s former editor in chief Ed Nardoza said. “He wasn’t afraid to challenge convention and brought not only dedication but a valuable tenacity to WWD and Fairchild.”
“Will always brought his ‘A+ game’: he had enormous energy, an innate sense of decency, a huge intelligence and wonderful sense of humor,” said Gina Sanders, Condé Nast’s global head of development and the former president and chief executive officer of Fairchild Fashion Group. “Will brought these qualities to Fairchild, and to all his roles throughout his career. I am so grateful to have known Will as a colleague, and also, as a true friend.”
Schenck came to Fairchild from Wenner Media, where he spent two years as the publisher of Rolling Stone and, prior to that, of Men’s Journal. Expressing sadness, Jann Wenner remembered Schenck as “a hard worker and a good guy.” Before Wenner Media, he was the advertising director of Vanity Fair and had worked in ad sales at Gourmet magazine.
Most recently, Schenck was the ceo of Tia Girl Club, a female empowerment initiative founded by his wife, Vanessa. In addition to his career in media, he brought energy and enthusiasm to a range of hobbies, from acting to fly-fishing to entertaining. According to Viles, Schenck embraced the editorial sensibility of every publication he worked at — pursuing outdoor activities while at Men’s Journal, embracing rock ‘n’ roll during his time at Rolling Stone, and becoming a foodie while at Gourmet.
Schenck is survived by his wife, Vanessa Fiorito Schenck, and their children, William, 14, and Julia, 12. A memorial service will be held on June 3 at 1 p.m. at Stanwich Congregational Church in Greenwich, Conn.