“I’m a fast walker. A very fast walker I’d say,” Kevin O’Malley, the new publisher of Elle, said on Tuesday night. He was poolside on the roof of The James hotel in SoHo at a party thrown in his honor by his new partner, Elle editor in chief Robbie Myers. He was talking about walking the walk from his old office in the Hearst Tower to Elle’s outpost on Avenue of the Americas — “about eight blocks.”
O’Malley, late of Esquire, was Hearst magazine president David Carey’s choice to run the empire’s new star. Was selling ad pages at a men’s magazine easier for the publisher? “I don’t think it’s easier,” O’Malley said. “The biggest difference is there’s a lot more women on my staff at Elle.”
Carey, standing against the railing of the deck with the sun setting to his back, said there would be “no more significant personnel moves” at the company following the acquisition, now that he’s shifted the company’s publishers around. But the magazines still have to move. Elle and it’s formerly Hachette-owned brothers and sisters will begin moving to the Hearst mothership on Eighth Avenue after Labor Day.
“The real estate people are hard at work putting the puzzle together,” Carey said, insisting that floor selection won’t be political, with sexier titles on higher floors. “It may have been in the past when they had a brand new building,” he said. “In this case the floors get based on the least dislocation to the building. Now we’re thinking in terms of the path of least resistance because we don’t want to touch all 44 floors.”
Forget internal competition. With a Jay Fielden-driven September issue of Town & Country coming out and Elle in the building, Hearst now has more obvious muscle to go after Condé Nast ad pages. “The publishers, even within Condé Nast, compete ferociously as you well know,” Carey said. “And our publishers go head to head against them.
“I don’t get involved with it,” he continued. “It’s up to the publishers to steal market share — that’s what we pay them for and want them to focus on.”
And what did Myers have to say about increased head-on competition with Vogue? “I think all of us in the same space are competitors with one another. How politically correct was that?”