There are big changes coming to W magazine.
When Gina Sanders was named publisher of WWD in January, it was made clear to us the former Lucky publisher would not be overseeing W as well. "W magazine is part of our consumer magazine division and it will stay that way," said the Conde Nast spokesperson.
This struck us as odd, given W and WWD share a good deal of staff, including executive editor Bridget Foley and editorial director Patrick McCarthy.
The magazine, in case you didn't know, was founded in 1971 as a twice-monthly sister to the daily WWD. It eventually became a monthly that focused less on society and gossip--WWD's biggest drivers during that period--and more on luxury goods.
It looks like Conde Nast has decided to further delineate the two brands, moving W out from under the Fairchild Fashion Group moniker. The Conde subgroup consists of trade publications WWD, WWD.com, Footwear News, conferences, Fairchild Books and trade shows.
Conde CEO Chuck Townsend said this morning in WWD that “This formally establishes a structure for W consistent with our other consumer magazine titles, and allows FFG the autonomy to focus on their core business-to-business publications and related businesses.”
The big news is that senior staff currently working at both the magazines--including Foley and McCarthy--will now work for WWD exclusively. W, which doesn't have an editor-in-chief, will get one over the next couple of months.
We won't be surprised if McCarthy exits the company altogether, since his role has been significantly diminished. As for who will take on W's top editorial position, internal options include Foley, or W deputy editor Julie Belcove, who currently writes the editor's letter in each issue.
However, we have a feeling that Townsend will bring in some fresh blood, given the magazine's dismal performance over the last few years. W’s advertising sales were down 45.8% in 2009 to $1.9 million.