Conde Nast jobs at risk amid strategy to merge global editorial teams

Roger Lynch Conde Nast

Magazine publisher Conde Nast has put jobs at risk as it begins to implement a new global digital-first content strategy merging editorial teams in the US and the rest of the world.

Roger Lynch (pictured), the global chief executive who joined Conde Nast in 2019, told staff last week that the merging of the editorial teams around the world was “one of the most important projects ever in our company’s history”.

The publisher is aiming to create double-digit revenue growth in 2021.

In the UK the cuts announced to staff last week will affect editorial and commercial staff at Vogue, Conde Nast Traveller and GQ, some of whom will have to reapply for their roles in the new global structure.

Also involved in this first stage of the five-year strategy are Wired UK, where no jobs are at risk because it is a smaller team already, and Architectural Digest which does not have a UK base.

[Read more: Wired UK chiefs forecast growth for 2020 despite coronavirus]

The number of jobs at risk have not yet been confirmed by the company.

However the intention is to increase investment in content, including in video products, events and experiences, by 25% over the next four years.

A Conde Nast spokesperson said: “As we continue to bring together our European business and transform our global operations, we are entering into a collective consultation process to evolve some of our teams, roles and capabilities. We are fully committed to supporting employees during this time.”

The global content strategy was announced in December with global editorial directors appointed for several of the magazine brands for the first time to oversee consistency of content strategy and tone, and Vogue editor Anna Wintour named chief content officer.

Wintour told the FT it is a “new day for the company” as she described the previous operations as “all very collegial . . . but we did not collaborate”.

In an open letter published last week, the global editorial leads of the five magazine brands involved in the current plans said their goal is “to be a more 21st-century media company, and a more community-minded one as well”.

“We’ve already made the shift from a legacy magazine publisher to a multiplatform digitally led media company — but we now want to be even more agile, and more open and connected in our thinking. To be sure, our titles have long had global reach, and a global readership, but now we want to shift our way of working to reflect that — to be as global as the audiences we’re attracting.”

The editors added that the brands “used to work in silos, tending to our individual titles, and often competing with each other.

“Competition can be fun — the thrill of a scoop, the big get — but ultimately it’s self — defeating. Coming together has already shown us that a new way of working can actually mean bigger gets, bigger scoops and more groundbreaking storytelling.”

The FT reported Conde Nast anticipates breaking even in 2022 and reaching double-digit operating profit margins by 2024.

[Read more: Publishers increase furlough claims in January as Conde Nast joins those needing UK govt support]

Picture: Reuters/Rick Wilking 

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