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Anna Wintour Named Artistic Director of Condé Nast

Chuck Townsend: Role created to keep her at the company

Powerful Vogue editor in chief Anna Wintour is expanding her role at Condé Nast. Today, the publisher announced that Wintour—who is also the editorial director of Teen Vogue—was named artistic director of Condé Nast. In the newly created role, Wintour will be responsible for “curating and cultivating the creative vision” for the company, according to a statement.

In an interview with The New York Times, Condé Nast CEO Chuck Townsend said that Wintour would be assuming some of the responsibilities left open by Si Newhouse, the 85-year-old chairman of Condé Nast parent Advance Publications, when he scaled back his role, including oversight of Condé Nast's editorial division, last fall. “Si Newhouse leaves a void, inevitably,” Townsend told the Times. “Anna, without even having to think twice about it, is the most qualified person to pick up that torch and carry it into the future.”

Townsend added that the role of artistic director had been created, in part, to keep Wintour at Condé Nast, telling the Times that he “would go to great distances to avoid losing Anna, particularly in the prime of her career.” Wintour had been rumored last year to be a possible Obama administration appointee to the U.K. ambassadorship, but she maintained that she had no plans outside of Condé Nast.

One word in Townsend's internal memo announcing the news that didn't go unnoticed was his referring to Wintour as "my partner," underscoring the importance of her new role.

"With Anna as my partner, our opportunities to promote our creative authority and champion all that we have 'only at Condé Nast' are boundless," he wrote.

In describing Wintour's new role, Townsend also managed to take a jab at rival publisher Time Inc., which is being cast off from Time Warner, saying, “Without this statement, I fear we could end up looking more like Time Inc. I don’t want to look like a gray-suited business.”

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