Fortune‘s Andy Serwer: ‘I’m Not a Big Vision Guy’

From left: John Huey, Andy Serwer, and Albert Watson
Photos by Jesse Wright

“I smell money,” we overheard a guest saying at last night’s fête for “The Fortune 25: The Men and Women Who Shaped the Business World in 2006.” He wasn’t just whistling Dixie — though the overall number of guests (100, give or take) wasn’t so high as to create uncouth crowding at the two bars in opposite corners of the Chelsea Museum, there were more finely tailored suits than we could shake a private jet at.

A semi-reluctant Kathy Ruemmler

The party served as a sort of coming-out in two ways: 1) for recently-appointed Fortune managing editor Andy Serwer and 2) for the portraits by renowned photographer Albert Watson, included in the Nov. 27 issue touting Fortune‘s 25. The images were on display at the event for last night only (though Watson hinted at taking the act on the road as a traveling exhibition). While we were bummed not to meet the YouTube guys (who’d RSVP’d in the affirmative, but who’d “signed a big deal” the previous night, according to a Fortune rep — this, perhaps?), several of the subjects were in attendance, including Kathy Ruemmler — one of the trio of Enron prosecutors — whose friends entreated our photographer to take her picture, though she protested modestly before relenting. Sick of being snapped? No fault of Fortune‘s, since Watson copped to taking only six or seven minutes with each of his power player subjects — a commitment that Time Inc. editor-in-chief John Huey jokingly called “generous, considering what they make.”

The Fortune crowd

Huey was sure to give props to an absent Eric Pooley (who, you may recall, got his wings last month) for putting the Fortune 25 issue together, explaining to the crowd, “I don’t want Andy to take too much credit.” No skin off Serwer’s teeth — Huey went on to praise the amiable editor for being “an exciting journalist.” We can see why: When asked about future plans for Fortune, Serwer cheerfully told us, “I’m not a big ‘vision’ guy — I’m just about going out there and kicking some ass and doing some great stories.” Anything in particular he’d be focusing on to build his Fortune? “I’m not going to overthink it,” he said. “Too often in our business, people overthink things. They spend all this time staring at their damn navels.” So he’s more spontaneous than that? “Yeah,” asserted Serwer. “It’s about finding what’s cool. This [gesturing at Watson’s portraits on the walls] is cool. I want to do more stuff like this.”

Additional pictures here