Design wunderkind Scott Dadich, whose low-budget side project for Wired’s digital edition ended up becoming the template for all of Condé Nast’s tablet strategy, is returning to the magazine as its editor in chief, the company announced today.
Dadich served as creative director of Wired from 2006 to 2010 where he notably led the magazine to three consecutive National Magazine Awards for design. After developing Wired’s widely praised iPad edition, he was tapped in 2010 for the larger corporate role of vice president of editorial platforms and design.
It's easy to see why Dadich was a favorite to head Wired. He already knows the brand and the company, and there's less urgency for someone in his recent position, now that the company's tablet strategy is up and running. The stylish, side-burned Dadich also has a wonky side that fits with Wired, having studied engineering at Texas Tech University. It remains to be seen how his design esthetic will translate to the editor's role at Wired where he was known for his exacting standards, often sending work back multiple times for revisions, and raising the dress bar by wearing suits in the otherwise laid-back San Francisco office.
Dadich’s digital chops figured big in his appointment, which was announced in an email by Condé Nast CEO Chuck Townsend. Company president Bob Sauerberg happened to be in San Francisco, where Wired has its editorial base, and was on hand for the announcement, as was Wired vp and publisher Howard Mittman and outgoing editor Chris Anderson.
“He’s been pivotal in helping Condé Nast win a leadership position in the industry,” said Tom Wallace, editorial director for Condé Nast, who led the search. “Wired we think of as the first word on the future, and to a very large degree, Wired’s future will have a profound influence on Condé Nast’s future. It is the largest website; it is where we launched the digital strategy; it has the biggest digital circulation.”
Interestingly, Dadich is a first-time editor in chief (and a young one, at the ripe old age of 36). Not that his predecessors have followed conventional glossy magazine career paths. Co-founder Louis Rossetto had been a book author and edited a magazine called Language Technology, and Chris Anderson, the editor since 2001, studied quantum mechanics and has had a varied career as a science journalist, book author and, recently, founder of robotics company 3D Robotics—for which he is leaving Wired to run full-time.
“[Dadich's] understanding of the digital distribution mechanisms is going to be as important to us as his editorial vision,” Mittman said. “The future of content is going to be as much about the medium as the message. Scott gets that in the way few people on this Earth do. He’s a perfect mixture of art and science.”
Other candidates Condé Nast is said to have considered included Bloomberg Businessweek editor Josh Tyrangiel; Bob Cohn, a Wired vet and editorial director of Atlantic Digital; LinkedIn's Dan Roth; and Andrew Essex, CEO of agency Droga5. Internally, Wired executive editor Thomas Goetz and Wired.com editor in chief Evan Hansen were believed to have been considered.
The changing of the guard happens as Wired is enjoying momentum at the company, raising its rate base in 2013 on the strength of its digital circulation. Dadich is slated to start immediately and move back to San Francisco in January. Anderson is expected to stay involved and have an as-yet determined title at the magazine going forward.