And so it begins. On Tuesday this week, Condé Nast chief executive Bob Sauerberg sent a memo to employees vaguely outlining the next steps in what may be the greatest restructuring ever to take place at the company, set to fundamentally shift how the storied publishing house runs its business.
Moving forward, Condé Nast will be restructured around five groups – roughly categorised as business, editorial, research, technology and creative – with each group working under one leader.
Condé Nast artistic director and Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour has already begun restructuring editorial copy and research, as well as creative services. Vogue executive director of editorial and special projects, Christiane Mack, who has been promoted to head of content, strategy and operations, will run a consolidated copy and research team that will work across brands. Condé Nast Entertainment – which is run independently from these other groups – will not be affected by these most recent changes.
According to Sauerberg’s note, Wintour and her team will complete the restructuring – which will require many employees to physically relocate so that they can sit with their groups – before the holidays and before 2017 budgets kick in.
The structure, in many ways, more closely follows how Hearst has structured its editorial units, with dedicated teams leading the charge at individual brands and other employees working across brands.
Of course, the restructuring also allows the publisher to cut costs, which is part of why it hired consulting firm MediaLink – best known for helping traditional media companies capitalise on new technology opportunities – earlier this autumn. One of the risks of the move, however, is that individual brands could lose their distinct flavour, a criticism the company has faced since Wintour was promoted to artistic director in 2013.