Charles "Chuck" Townsend has retired from his role as the chairman of Condé Nast, effective Dec. 31. A memo sent to employees on Tuesday and obtained by Fashionista stated that the decision was made "after careful planning with the Newhouse family," and that Condé Nast does not plan on replacing Townsend while S.I. Newhouse will stay on as chairman emeritus.
Townsend's retirement comes just a year after he was named chairman in Jan. 2016, previously serving as the company's chief executive officer from 2004 to 2015; that position that is now held by Bob Sauerberg.
In the memo, Townsend wrote:
The business world is hard at work reinventing itself. Every sector, every established company, is radically adjusting to the new economic order and the transformation to digitally driven connections with clients and consumers. Condé Nast is no exception. But we're not intimidated by the challenges, thanks to carefully planned leadership succession initiated several years ago, and the dedication of the organization to preserving and carefully translating the incredibly powerful brands we own into contemporary assets.
This news is the latest in a series of in-house shakeups that began at the end of 2015, which included folding Details, "aligning" Teen Vogue with Vogue and combining the business and operational teams of Self and Glamour. Last month, Condé Nast announced a new business model that will consolidate five distinct fields — copy/research, editorial, creative, business and technology — company-wide. Finally, on Monday, Condé Nast International revealed its plans to merge the Vogue digital editions worldwide.
According to WWD, sources speculate that Condé Nast "will continue to reorganize its structure to better position itself for the digital era by the end of the year."
We will continue to update this story as we learn more.
This story has been updated to reflect confirmation from Condé Nast, as well as the quote from Townsend.