NEW YORK — Sputtering Web site Fashion Wire Daily is about to undergo yet another restructuring and another relaunch after laying off the majority of its staff last week.
The company’s chairman and chief investor, Dr. Avraham Kadar, informed a dozen employees last Friday that they were being let go, but gave them the option of staying on as freelancers — an offer one staffer described as “piddly.”
President and editor Godfrey Deeny is stepping down from both positions. “[Kadar] was of the opinion that a radical restructuring was needed,” Deeny said. “At that stage, frankly, I decided to go back to Europe.”
He’ll be leaving at the end of the month and will contribute to the site from Paris. Deputy editor Stephen Milioti was among those let go, leaving the site without an acting editor.
They’ll be replaced, Kadar said, by an unspecified number of yet-to-be-hired contributing editors “who are highly recognized in their fields.” Kadar said the site will relaunch sometime this week with expanded coverage of beauty and fashion, including “underground” and “edgy” fare. His former employees are dubious, though. “I’m not sure what a 65-year-old immunologist knows about edgy content,” one said.
Kadar was the site’s first investor and the doctor of founder and ex-chief executive Branduso Niro. An allergist and immunologist with a practice in Westchester County, he is also the main backer of the educational site, Brainpop.com. He told WWD he is now funding Fashion Wire Daily on an ongoing basis and became more involved with the site’s day-to-day operations over the past year.
After the relaunch, which had been set for Monday but suffered technical snafus, Fashion Wire Daily will keep its subscription wall in place but is expanding its syndication efforts, having recently signed deals with Yahoo, the Boston Globe and the Miami Herald, Deeny said.
“I’m very optimistic that, at last, we have a master plan for going in the direction that we all wanted it to go,” Kadar said.