The revolving door of the media industry never stops. Here, WWD rounds up some of the notable moves of late.
First up is a scoop on Fortune magazine, settling into new ownership. It’s lured back Brian O’Keefe as deputy editor. O’Keefe previously held the role for 18 years but left in early 2018 to be editor in chief of IBM’s research vertical Institute for Business Value. Fortune made a few other hires as well. Jeremy Kahn is coming from Bloomberg News to cover technology in Fortune’s London bureau; Lee Clifford is a new senior editor of finance, returning to the outlet after leaving in 2010; David Z. Morris, a freelancer since 2013, is coming on full time as a writer on the tech team. Kristen Bellstrom was promoted to features editor and Matt Heimer to senior features editor.
Stefano Tonchi is out at W magazine after almost 10 years as editor in chief, with his exit coming the same day that Condé Nast clinched W’s sale to Surface Magazine. The breakup turned ugly, as Tonchi sued Condé for breach of contract — understandable as Tonchi claims he’s owed more than $1 million in severance.
Ken Lerer, a cofounder of Huffington Post and former Yahoo executive, left his position as chairman of BuzzFeed. The official reason Lerer left is to focus on his venture capital firm Hippeau Ventures, which he runs with his son Ben Lerer, chief executive officer of Group Nine Media. But BuzzFeed has had its share of drama recently, like layoffs, missed financial targets and an acrimonious unionization of its news staff.
Arianna Huffington found a chief operations officer for Thrive Global in Steven Schwartz. He was previously president of Dataminr and will be leading major growth efforts at Thrive.
The New York Times-owned Wirecutter pulled new deputy editor Jason Chen over from rival The Strategist, among New York Magazine’s popular online verticals. Chen will be expanding Wirecutter’s product recommendations into areas like style and beauty as the site looks to expand.
In something of a trade, New York Magazine hired Matthew Schneier as its new features writer, mainly for its fashion vertical The Cut. Schneier came from the Styles desk of the Times.
People magazine nabbed Wendy Naugle as deputy editor, where she will be new editor in chief Dan Wakeford’s second in command. Naugle left Condé’s Glamour after 18 years. People also promoted longtime editors Kate Coyne, Cindy Sanz and Lizz Leonard.
Elle magazine lost its executive editor Emma Rosenblum, who’s taken up with Bustle Digital Group to be the first editor in chief of its lifestyle group.
Hearst Magazines had bigger changes, too. Michael Sebastian became the new editor in chief of Esquire magazine, and longtime fashion director Nick Sullivan its first creative director, after the sudden exit of Jay Fielden, first reported by WWD. Michael Hainey subsequently left the title as well, as did contributing editors Alex French and Maximillian Potter. Their investigative story on director Bryan Singer was allegedly killed early this year, leading to some general discord.
In a surprise move, MTV tapped Sheila Nevins as the head of its new documentary division. Nevins spent nearly 40 years leading HBO Documentary Films and did so to much acclaim, but left in the spring of 2018.
Vice Media also made a number of changes. It let go of two top editors, Jonathan Smith, editor in chief of Vice.com and with the company for almost a decade, as well as Rachel Schallom, Vice’s still-new managing editor. Vice promoted Erika Allen to executive managing editor, and Meredith Balkus to associate managing editor.
Finally, media executive Edward Menicheschi has joined The Hollywood Reporter as chief global commercial officer. Menicheschi is a former president of WWD, but was last at Condé as its media group president and chief marketing officer.