Long-expected changes at Condé Nast started Sept. 15 when Millie Martini Bratten was replaced after 17 years as editor in chief of Brides and more than 30 at the company.
Replacing her is Anne Fulenwider, an editor at Hearst’s Marie Claire. The change is expected to be announced the morning of Sept. 16, but the news leaked out Thursday. Brides Publisher Carolyn Kremins, meanwhile, is expected to move any day to another magazine at the company and be replaced by Michelle Myers, now publisher of sibling title Lucky.
This is the second recent big departure from Marie Claire’s masthead. Abigail Pesta recently resigned as editor at large to head up global women’s coverage at the Newsweek Daily Beast Co. as editorial director of its women's coverage.
At Condé Nast, speculation about the high-level changes dominated discussion on Thursday as the company held its first companywide meeting of all its top editors and publishers, another sign it’s not business as usual at the luxury publisher anymore.
CEO Chuck Townsend and President Bob Sauerberg presided over the gathering, which took place on the fourth-floor dining room at 4 Times Square. They emphasized that print ads would remain the core of the company, whose titles include Vogue, GQ and Vanity Fair. But as print growth has slowed, they said the company would aggressively pursue revenue in licensing, e-commerce, video, and higher circulation prices.
“In the past, it’s always been get more ad pages, get more ad pages,” one executive who was at the meeting said. “The message from the company is margin and profit improvement.”
“There’s a lot of acceptance that the five-year model doesn’t work,” another attendee said.
The meeting was short on specifics, but the higher-ups hinted that related initiatives would soon be announced.
“I think there’s something coming down with Amazon, something with TV, and publisher movements,” the executive said. “What I do hear at the watercooler is Lucky, Self, and Allure.”
The recession has forced all publishers to operate on tighter budgets than they're accustomed to, but it’s different at Condé Nast, which was known for insulating its editors from business-side concerns. Top brass have also been stressing cooperation over competition at the company, which has a tradition of intramural rivalries among books.
“In the past, it was dog-eat-dog,” the exec said, adding that now, “that is really frowned on.”