There's a significant changing of the guard taking place at Hearst where it was announced today that longtime Esquire editor in chief David Granger will step down after nearly 20 years leading the iconic publication. His replacement: Jay Fielden, the editor responsible for transforming Town & Country from dusty publication to buzzy brand.
Fielden, who was named editor of Town & Country in 2011, will now carry the dual titles of Esquire editor in chef and Town & Country editorial director. Prior to joining Town & Country, he was editor of Men's Vogue and arts editor at Vogue, and spent a decade at the New Yorker.
Granger's departure from Esquire is a major event for the magazine industry, where he has become one of the handful of editors whose name is synonymous with his publication. (See also: Anna Wintour, Graydon Carter.) Since taking Esquire's top job in 1997, Granger has helped lead the title to 16 National Magazine Awards (its most recent win, for feature writing, was in 2012) and just last October, oversaw the publication of its 1,000th issue. While the magazine's circulation has been struggling—single copy sales were down 14 percent in the first half of 2015 while total circulation fell 2 percent, per the AAM—its overall audience grew 20 percent last year, according to the MPA.
If Fielden's track record at Town & Country is any indication, he'll be a smart choice for revitalizing 83-year-old Esquire. During his time at Town & Country, he managed to successfully reposition the publication with an eye toward a younger, social-savvy audience, which included completely overhauling the magazine's Web presence (where traffic has quadrupled year over year, according to Hearst), bringing in A-list writers like Jay McInerney and Martin Amis, overseeing the launch of the brand's annual Philanthropy Summit and reviving the Town & Country Travel supplement.
Granger's official departure date is set for March 31. A new editor in chief of Town & Country will be named shortly, said Hearst.