Will Condé Nast's Executive Shakeup Extend Anna Wintour's Editorial Influence?

Condé Nast employees woke up to an email from chief executive Chuck Townsend announcing some major changes to the executive suite.
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Eliza Brooke
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Condé Nast employees woke up to an email from chief executive Chuck Townsend announcing some major changes to the executive suite.
This lady. Photo: Astrid Stawiarz/GettyImages

This lady. Photo: Astrid Stawiarz/GettyImages

As Condé Nast prepares for a mass relocation from 4 Times Square to a brand new downtown location, it's also undergoing some major executive changes. In a company-wide memo sent on Wednesday morning, Condé Nast CEO Charles Townsend announced the departures of John Bellando, the company's COO and CFO, and Tom Wallace, who has served as editorial director since 2005.

According to Townsend's memo, a copy of which a Condé Nast rep passed along to us, Bellando will stay on with the company as an advisor through the end of the year. To fill Bellando's shoes, Condé Nast President Bob Sauerberg will take the lead in revenue growth for the brands and assume responsibility for Condé Nast Media Group. Time Inc. vet David Geithner will join the company as CFO in August, reporting directly to Townsend.

Townsend does not, however, mention a plan for replacing Wallace, whose position as editorial director involved overseeing editorial for the full portfolio of magazines and leading the development of their digital editions and platforms. 

Instead, he notes that: "Anna Wintour, who last year was named the company’s artistic director, will ensure that our content and culture remain at the forefront of our industry. Bob and I will rely on her for her insights and guidance as we build the team that will lead us into the future."

While Townsend says that there is more news coming down the pipeline in the near term, one does get the impression from this memo that the staffing movement will give Wintour a greater hand in editorial direction for the company overall, just as it has extended Sauerberg's role in business operations.