“Unless we want to look like a museum, we had to change and change pretty radically,” he added.
For the past year, Ms. Wintour has been focused on the next step of the process: turning seven of Condé Nast’s biggest publications — Vogue, GQ, Wired, Architectural Digest, Vanity Fair, Condé Nast Traveler and Glamour — into global brands, each under one leader, cutting costs and streamlining the sharing of content across both print magazines and digital platforms.
“Instead of having 27 Vogues or 10 Vogues go after one story, we have one global Vogue go after it,” Ms. Wintour said. “So it’s more like a global newsroom with different hubs.”
The switch in focus from local to global has not gone down well everywhere. Tina Brown, the former editor of The New Yorker and Vanity Fair, filleted the plan as “suicidal” in an interview in August with The Times of London.
“Obviously there are some stories that work, particularly if you think about fashion, that’s a global language, and music, so there are stories that will work across all territories and then those that absolutely won’t,” Ms. Wintour said. “We’re very aware of that.”
Ms. Wintour is also ensuring that there are unlikely to be any more Anna Wintours — no more imperial editors in chief each with their own fiefs, a job Ms. Wintour herself helped create as a stylish but exacting gatekeeper of fashion and culture. The brands are now run by “global editorial directors,” most of whom are based in New York, with regional heads of content reporting to them.
“Before, you created stories for publication and it came out once a month and that was great,” she said, describing the old domain of an editor in chief. Now the global editorial directors and heads of content are working across platforms that include “digital, video, short and long form, social, events, philanthropic endeavors, membership, consumer, e-commerce,” Ms. Wintour said.
“You touch so many different worlds,” she added. “Honestly, who wouldn’t want that job?”
In the midst of the change at Condé Nast, plenty of people decided they didn’t.