THE STORY O’ FLORIO: Steve Florio may not call the shots at Conde Nast anymore, but that doesn’t mean he’s out of ammunition. Clearly, he saved some choice volleys for his book, a memoir-cum-management treatise that draws heavily on his time running business operations first at GQ, then The New Yorker and, finally, across all of Conde Nast (which, like WWD, is a unit of Advance Publications Inc.). According to his representative at William Morris Agency, an undisclosed publisher has purchased the rights, though Florio said through a Conde Nast spokeswoman, “No official deal has been struck.”

Judging from a pitch and excerpt obtained by WWD, one person who will not be eager to see the book hit shelves is Ron Galotti. In a chapter titled “Managing Mr. Big,” Florio, now vice chairman, thoroughly disses his former underling — the subject of both his best and worst decisions at Conde Nast. Florio writes, “The story of Ron Galotti is the story of how celebrity can ruin a perfectly good executive.” As publisher of Vogue (Florio’s best decision), he says, Galotti was a brilliantly effective, if at times too aggressive, ad salesman. But after leaving in 1998 to start Talk with Tina Brown, “Ron started believing his own bulls–t,” Florio writes. Hiring him back to be publisher of GQ in 2001 was “the worst decision I ever made as president and ceo … The magazine needed someone with a very steady hand, and Ron didn’t have it anymore.”

Reached at his home in Vermont, a piqued Galotti responded with some jabs of his own. “He can print anything he wants, I guess,” he said. “The really wonderful thing about it is, since it’s Steve Florio’s book, no one will read it. He worked his whole life just to get to the point where he had the time to write a book.”

At least Galotti can take comfort in knowing he’s not Florio’s only target. Some of the others:

This story first appeared in the June 21, 2005 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

  • Legendary New Yorker editor William Shawn: “He was one of the most manipulative human beings I had ever encountered.” Case in point: According to Florio, Shawn wheedled a generous retirement package out of Conde Nast, only to turn around and claim to his staff that he’d been pushed out.
  • Bonnie Fuller, former editor in chief of Glamour: “She damn near killed the magazine. She made it trashy as hell.”
  • Anne Fuchs, former publisher of Vogue: “It was my view that Anne Fuchs had been serving less as a publisher than as a Park Avenue socialite.”
  • Mandi Norwood, former editor in chief of Mademoiselle: “Within six months she took a century-old institution and put that baby out of business.”
  • GQ’s sales staff, circa 1980: “One guy in ad sales was a cocaine freak; another was a notorious sex fanatic. An out-of-town sales rep was a cross-dressing nut — hose, bras, hats and the works — with a wife and kids. At our first sales meeting, at the Montauk Yacht Club … all the gay guys showed up in dresses. Strapless numbers.”
load comments
blog comments powered by Disqus