Self, Cookie, Big Winners at Condé Nast

At a time when the ad recession has thrown all magazines into a state of uncertainty, quiet, steady growth seems to be in vogue at Condé Nast.

The company, dealing out its carefully parsed annual internal awards on Jan. 27, gave its Publisher of the Year honor to Self vp, publisher Kim Kelleher, who has led the women’s health and fitness title on a quiet, steady growth track since taking the job in 2004.

The title lost momentum last year but has weathered the economic storm better than most. Pages declined 3.8 percent in 2008 versus a 7.1 percent decline for the overall women’s health/fitness category, per the Mediaweek Monitor.

The annual awards capped Condé Nast’s two-day yearly publishers’ meeting, held Jan. 26-27. Traditionally held off-site, this year’s gathering was kept in New York as the company has sought to trim costs amid softening ad revenue.

It was a big night for some of the company’s smaller titles. The platinum publishing team honor went to Cookie, the three-year-old, fast-growing upscale parenting magazine whose pages rose 10.7 percent last year when most other titles were down.

Self tied for the gold publishing team award with Allure, which also had an above-average year, with ad pages down 4.6 percent versus a 7.9 percent shortfall for the fashion/beauty category.

The silver went to Details, which has been the subject of speculation that Condé Nast might fold it to focus efforts on GQ. Helmed by Steve DeLuca, who took over as publisher in April 2008 when Chris Mitchell moved over to Wired, the title lost 6.5 percent of its ad pages last year.

The bronze went to tiny weekly Golf World, which recorded a 4 percent ad page gain in 2008 in part due to non-endemic advertising wins under publisher Tom Nolan.

The Corporate Executive of the Year award went to John Bellando, chief operating officer.