When former Vogue publisher and 25-year Condé Nast veteran Tom Florio was spotted lunching with IMG executives on the day he tendered his resignation last June, something appeared to be up. It took a few months but the parties revealed that something Wednesday, when the marketing and events giant named Florio to the somewhat amorphous post of “senior adviser for fashion to the office of the chairman.” According to the company, the role, created specifically for Florio, will see him responsible for “identifying new, high-margin product offerings across all of IMG’s fashion-related businesses.” Florio told WWD it means finding the portions of IMG’s fashion operations where technology could tap into opportunity, and letting “great creativity drive commerce.” One such sphere may be the general shift toward consumer-friendly runway shows, he said, pointing to Burberry’s recent straight-to-customer livestreams as an example. He also added a few illustrations of the type of work he’d be doing from his own résumé, such as shopvogue.com and the Vogue-hosted Web series “Model.Live,” which was itself a partnership with IMG.
“That’s what I did with Anna [Wintour],” Florio said. “I worked very closely with an editor. I was able to take [her] vision and create new business opportunities.”
IMG’s hand in many fashion weeks around the world and its modeling agency’s well-stocked roster should provide an ample sandbox for Florio, who upon first leaving Condé Nast said he was looking to run his own shop. While his new title isn’t chief executive officer — he’ll report to IMG chairman and ceo Ted Forstmann — it does allow for the possibility of a partnership or two with his former employer, something else he hinted at in June. “It also could be that I will be working closely with Condé Nast,” he told WWD of his plans at the time. He expanded on that thought Wednesday, and made clear he wouldn’t be challenging anyone at 4 Times Square in his new job.
“This is completely about working alongside the publishing industry… it’s working alongside of the design community,” Florio said. “We’re not creating media properties to compete.”