Elle publisher Hachette Filipacchi Media U.S. has closed or sold off many of its magazines in recent years, leading to speculation that it plans to pull up stakes in the United States altogether.
Now, the U.S. unit of France’s Lagardère Group is getting ready to do a different kind of streamlining. Hachette is changing its name to HFMUS and adopting a forward-slanting logo to associate its name with speed and innovation.
A growing list of companies from the Y (once YMCA) to AARP (formerly the American Association of Retired Persons) has shortened their names. In cases like those two, the change made sense because the public was already using the shorter name. In Hachette’s case, the current one-word name is likely to stick, though.
“It’s more symbolic than anything else,” Alain Lemarchand, president/CEO of Hachette, said in an interview. “It’s a reflection of the new spirit, or new culture, the evolution we want to be part of, the speed required to achieve these innovations.”
The change comes as Hachette gets ready to move in the literal sense, to the Time Inc. building on Oct. 4. There, many top executives (Lemarchand himself included) will find their offices have been replaced with a desk in an open workspace. (A handful will have offices, including chief brand officers and top editors.)
Lemarchand, who has made sweeping organizational changes to promote new revenue stream development, sees the open office as a way to encourage loyalty, risk-taking and collaboration across departments.
“These offices are just a nightmare,” he said of the current U.S. headquarters at 1633 Broadway. “It’s very siloed. We need the executive level to lead by example.”