More big changes are in the works at Condé Nast, which has already seen plenty of upheaval in the past few weeks. This morning, company president Bob Sauerberg announced that longtime publishing exec (and current publisher and CRO of Condé Nast Traveler) Bill Wackermann is getting the boot. He'll be replaced at Traveler by Brendan Monaghan, who was most recently svp of advertising at The New York Times and publisher of T: The New York Times Style Magazine.
Wackermann had a long and sometimes rocky tenure at Condé Nast, where he began his career as publisher of Details in 2001. (At 31 years old, he was also the youngest publisher in the company's history.) While Wackermann could be a polarizing figure, he also proved to have a knack for repositioning troubled brands, and eventually rose to Condé Nast evp and publishing director, managing a rotating stable of brands including Glamour, Brides, W, Bon Appétit and Details.
By 2013, Wackermann's oversight had been trimmed to just Glamour, which was facing soft newsstand numbers and flat ad pages. In an effort to kick start the brand, Condé Nast brought in InStyle publisher (and former Vogue exec) Connie Anne Phillips to replace Wackermann, and sent Wackermann to help revive yet another struggling magazine: Condé Nast Traveler.
Along with editor in chief Pilar Guzman, Wackermann repositioned Traveler as a more fashion-forward travel glossy. But while the re-launch drew rave reviews from both readers and the ad community—the magazine's audience has grown 20 percent as of September, per the MPA, while year-to-date digital revenue has more than doubled, according to the company—it appears that Condé Nast is looking to take the magazine in a new direction yet again.
Monaghan, the company's choice to lead the charge, is actually a Condé Nast veteran, having served as associate publisher at GQ and Vogue's Los Angeles sales manager before heading to the Times.
He also seems to be very popular among media buyers. "Brendan is a champion, a warrior and an ambassador in the high-end fashion community, and that's why Condé Nast brought him in, to help grow the ad spend in that area," said Robin Steinberg, evp and director of publishing investment and activation at MediaVest.
Wackermann is just the latest in a string of publishers to exit the company. In the past week, both Teen Vogue's Jason Wagenheim and Self's Mary Murcko were laid off after their titles' business staffs were combined with other magazines, while Details' Drew Schutte is leaving because his magazine was shuttered.
"There's a lot of cost-cutting, financially, structurally and operationally, at Condé Nast," explained one company insider. "They're getting rid of these very expensive publisher salaries because they think these guys aren't necessarily going to drive them into the future."