Travel + Leisure’s director is taking over the role of editor in chief.
Jacqueline Gifford, who’s been with the title since 2013 when it was still part of Time Inc., since acquired by Meredith Corp., has been named the new editor in chief of the travel glossy. She takes over from Nathan Lump, who left after overseeing the close of the December issue. While Lump also worked in a broader capacity as editorial director of Departures, Food & Wine and Cooking Light, Gifford does not appear to be taking on that responsibility as well.
Before joining Travel + Leisure, Gifford had stints at Condé Nast title Brides, which is currently for sale, and Vanity Fair while it was still under the editorial direction of Graydon Carter.
Born in Japan and raised with a global upbringing between the Middle East and Philadelphia, Gifford wrote in a statement of her excitement at the promotion: “Travel changes and shapes people in immeasurable ways and it is a topic that is taking center stage right now in our culture.”
Steven Orr, vice president and group editorial director at Meredith, to whom she will report, cited Gifford’s “proven track record, immense talent and deep understanding of the brand make her perfectly suited” to be editor in chief.
“The strong support and close relationships that Jacqui has developed with our travel partners over the years have had an overwhelmingly positive impact on our audience and on our business,” Jay Mayer, publisher of Travel + Leisure, wrote in the memo.
The magazine is one of a handful of former Time titles that Meredith decided to keep after acquiring the publisher at the start of the year, seeing the travel market as a big area of growth. Meredith boasted in the memo on Gifford’s appointment that the magazine’s global audience is at 16 million and “commands” 55 percent of advertising share in the category. According to MPA, The Association of Magazine Media, Travel + Leisure is one of the few titles to see growth in print readership so far this year, growing about 1 percent year-to-date, with an average of 14 percent growth in mobile readers. Despite a 6.5 percent drop in video and a 3 percent dip in web readership, overall readership is up 4.8 percent.
Although Lump’s departure seemed amicable, leaving a brand that appears to be doing well after just four years is somewhat uncommon. In a statement on his exit, Lump said it was a “tough decision,” but that “now feels like the right time for me to stretch myself professionally in new ways.”
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