Major shake-ups are in motion across the board at Condé Nast. Yesterday employees received a memo from CEO Bob Sauerberg announcing a restructuring plan and a few new appointments, redefining business as usual and causing angst about more rounds of layoffs. The first order of business: The company is reorganizing around five groups—business, editorial, research, technology, and creative—which will each be run by one leader. The restructuring goes so far as to physically move much of the staff, so they can sit near their new teammates—Anna Wintour is handling the seating chart of all seating charts before the holidays. Some employees will remain at specific brands, while others will work across a variety of them.
As far as appointments, Edward Cudahy was promoted to chief technology officer, and Wintour has already made a few changes at her own team. Raul Martinez, who’s been Wintour’s master of design since ’09, was promoted to head of the creative group, while Christiane Mack was bumped up from executive director of editorial and special projects to head of content, strategy, and operations, and will run a consolidated copy and research team.
This news doesn’t come as a total shocker, though. Speculation that something this major would happen at Condé Nast began after the business and editorial ops at Glamour and Self were consolidated and Vogue and Teen Vogue were united under one publisher. Just last week, former AOL exec Jim Norton, who joined Sauerberg’s executive board as chief business officer last week, caused some disruption, including the resignation of Jill Bright of brand development and Edward Menicheschi, chief marketing officer.
Below is Sauerberg’s memo, verbatim, which hit inboxes at 3:50 p.m. yesterday…
Subject: Leadership Announcement
As our audiences read, watch and consume our content in increasingly varied ways, every new platform and product development is another opportunity to reach new audiences and grow our business. Today our premium content is being distributed across platforms and formats spanning print, digital, mobile, video, social and virtual reality, and as a result, we need to evolve our legacy culture and structure to reflect this new marketplace and be organized to deliver our content consistently across every platform.
In January, I spoke to you about the importance of acting as ONE company and breaking down the silos that prevent collaboration across our brands. In employee roundtables, group meetings and most recently, our employee survey, there is one constant theme. You want us to remove the barriers so you can work with and learn from your peers across the company.
To that end, last week we took the first step in modernizing our revenue operations by organizing our multiple sales teams, brand development and consumer marketing divisions under one leader, Jim Norton.
Today, Anna Wintour and I are restructuring our creative and editorial copy/research teams to unify these functions under new leaders and relocate them together. Our powerful and storied brands are our stars and these changes will enhance the creative process that goes into the popular and award-winning content we produce every day, across every platform.
Raul Martinez has been named head of the creative group for Condé Nast and will oversee the creative unit and all of the incredibly talented creative directors and teams from each brand. This new team will include all editorial brand creative, art, design and photo, in addition to the creative teams from the businesses and 23 Stories.
The creative division will work across the entire portfolio enabling seamless collaboration and making our collective creative talent more accessible and marketable to all. It also will offer our creatives the opportunity to work on varied projects and diversify their skills while providing a more holistic approach to our content creation, everywhere it is seen.
Additionally, we will bring the copy and research functions for all our brands together under Christiane Mack, who has been named head of content, strategy & operations, for Condé Nast.
Anna and team will be working through the specifics with each brand over the next several weeks and expect to have the groups relocated before the holidays.
All of this is part of an overall reorganization of the company from top to bottom, including my new executive committee which includes:
Anna Wintour, artistic director for Condé Nast; David Geithner, chief financial officer; Jim Norton, chief business officer and president of revenue, Dawn Ostroff, president of Condé Nast Entertainment; Fred Santarpia, chief digital officer; JoAnn Murray, chief human resources officer; and Cameron Blanchard, our chief communications officer.
This is a time of great change for all of us and I am excited and optimistic about our future together. We are working hard to evolve our company from a premium publishing company to a premium media company. We produce the best content and have the most talented and creative teams in the industry and together, there are no limits to what we can achieve. These new, contemporary structures will make it easier to collaborate across edit, business and brand-to-brand and truly unleash the collective power of our incredible company.
I look forward to seeing what I know will be outstanding results.