Ever since longtime Harper’s Bazaar editor in chief Glenda Bailey revealed at the end of January that she would be stepping down, its publisher Hearst Magazines has been taking its time to appoint her successor.
Now the spread of coronavirus across the U.S. will delay that process even further, with a Hearst spokeswoman confirming to WWD that it won’t be naming a successor during this time as most of the magazine’s staff works from home.
In the meantime, Kate Lewis, chief content officer of Hearst Magazines, just told staffers that executive fashion director Nicole Fritton and digital director Joyann King will be “interim co-captains,” overseeing the Bazaar print and digital edit teams and working directly with Lewis on all aspects of the brand.
“Both Joyann and Nicole have been with the brand for more than a decade and I know they have the trust and confidence of the teams, and will ensure we continue to provide our audience and advertising partners with the best possible experience and inspiration they have come to love from Bazaar on all platforms during this time,” Lewis said in a memo to the team.
King’s name has come up time and time again as a possible successor to Bailey as elevating her fits in perfectly with the apparent strategy employed by Hearst Magazines president Troy Young of promoting successful web editors from within to take on editors in chief roles.
But she was just one of a number of people who Hearst was said to be eyeing for the top job. That long list includes Samira Nasr, executive fashion director at Vanity Fair, former Interview editor Fabien Baron, InStyle editor in chief Laura Brown and Wall Street Journal magazine’s Kristina O’Neill.
Brown, who worked at Harper’s for more than a decade, is understood to have wanted to stay at InStyle where she enjoys the Hollywood side of things, while O’Neill, who also worked under Bailey at Bazaar, has always said she is happy at WSJ Magazine.
Others thought to have been in the running include Elisa Lipsky-Karasz, O’Neill’s deputy at WSJ; stylist Jessica Diehl, and Deborah Needleman, former editor in chief of T: The New York Times Style Magazine.
The salary on offer is understood to have been a stumbling block in recruitment as it’s much lower than what magazine editor in chiefs took home during those long-gone hey days of publishing.
Bailey, who officially stood down as editor in chief at the end of last month, won’t be going far. She is to work with editorial teams and fashion and beauty marketers “to develop partnerships and portfolios,” Hearst said. “In addition, Bailey will produce two special reports each year.”
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