It's a hard time to be in publishing.
At the end of 2015, Condé Nast made a number of changes to its portfolio, including shuttering men's publication Details, "aligning" Teen Vogue with Vogue (effectively combining ad sales teams and moving the teen mag under the direction of Vogue publisher Susan Plagemann), and combining the business and operational teams of Self and Glamour.
Those consolidation efforts have continued into 2016, with many publications now sharing PR and social media teams. In September, Condé Nast brought in strategic advisory firm MediaLink for guidance in restructuring the company; and on Tuesday, the publisher announced its biggest change yet. A release to company staffers from Chief Executive Bob Sauerberg outlines the latest moves that have been months in the making: "In January, I spoke to you about the importance of acting as ONE company and breaking down the silos that prevent collaboration across our brands," it says. "In employee roundtables, group meetings and most recently, our employee survey, there is one constant theme. You want us to remove the barriers so you can work with and learn from your peers across the company."
It can be tricky to cut through corporate lingo, but essentially it heralds a new business model for Condé Nast in which resources are to be shared across five distinct fields: copy/research teams, editorial, creative, business, and technology. Anna Wintour remains artistic director, with Raul Martinez stepping up into a role which will oversee the creative unit, and Christiane Mack heading up the copy and research teams. Rounding out the team are Edward Cudahy, recently promoted to chief technology officer, and Jim Norton, recently appointed as chief business officer.
Employees in copy and research teams will be moved to sit with their groups, rather than with the individual publications for which they've been working; some will continue to work with exclusively one publication, while others will be expected to float between multiple. It's a move that makes Condé Nast more like its competitors Hearst, which has famously been sharing resources across brands — especially in digital — since Troy Young took the helm of digital operations in 2013, and Time Inc., which recently underwent a drastic restructuring itself.
The changes are expected to go into effect by the end of the year; while it's not immediately clear what this means for jobs, layoffs are generally expected to be coming in the near future.