On Tuesday, Condé Nast Chief Executive Bob Sauerberg announced that the media company is dividing into five groups—business, editorial, research, technology, and creative—that will take priority over individual brands, with each group working under one leader (Anna Wintour will continue to serve as artistic director), Women’s Wear Daily reports.
It’s unclear exactly how this will shake out, but according to a memo obtained by several news outlets, there will still be dedicated staff at each brand, while, depending on their role, others will work across multiple titles. Employees in copy and research teams, for example, now consolidated under Vogue executive director of editorial and special projects Christiane Mack, will be physically moved to sit with each other rather than with their specific brands. Time, Inc. and Hearst have restructured similarly, and WWD reports that Hearst is rumored to undergo even more consolidation soon.
“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,” Sauerberg wrote in the memo to employees. “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.”
According to Business of Fashion, layoffs are anticipated. The New York Post cites sources who say that the company is aiming for budget reductions of between $20 and $30 million for 2017. But employees, take note: this was your idea! You wanted it!
In the past several years, Condé Nast has tightened its operations considerably, shuttering Details, shifting Teen Vogue under Vogue, laying off employees at GQ, Teen Vogue, Glamour, Self, and Allure, and combining the business/operational teams at Glamour and Self. In a January article, the New York Times noted that this landscape of constant upheaval has rattled employees. (I worked at Glamour, a Condé Nast brand, until late 2014, and was somewhat rattled myself.)
“These new, contemporary structures will make it easier to collaborate across edit, business and brand-to-brand and truly unleash the collective power of our incredible company,” the memo reads.
Another day, another downsizing cheerfully framed as “collaboration.”