Conde Nast may be the most quiet of all the leading magazine publishers since summer kicked in but make no mistake about it, there are things happening at the company. Conde Nast is said to be prepping to make more organizational changes under Chief Business Officer Jim Norton and naturally these pending changes and other things are causing many to worry inside the company. It was just back in May following the dismissal of about 100 staffers that Mr. Norton during an interview said that there were no more cuts planned and that Style.com was being piloted by Conde’s international unit. During that interview he also said that nothing about a sale of the company has ever come across his desk. Well, since then Style.com has been shuttered and now there are more changes, possibly cuts coming. So should we expect that at some point we will hear about a sale as well? Rumors are still alive that he was brought in to streamline operations in preparation for a sale.
Jim Norton, some believe was tasked with making the tough calls CEO Bob Sauerberg didn’t want to make or had the time to make. But some of the unease within the company according to WWD has to do with the feeling that Mr. Norton is out of his depth because he “lacks” the knowledge of Conde’s areas of business which is beauty, luxury and fashion. But clearly this wasn’t an issue for Mr. Sauerberg who hired Mr. Norton away from running AOL’s massive media sales operations. If Mr. Norton was an editor and lacked the knowledge in those areas then yes that would be a problem. Inside the company Its not just Mr. Norton’s leadership that is being questioned. CEO Bob Sauerberg’s strategy and leadership team are also being questioned. But as WWD rightfully stated, these concerns aren’t exclusive to Conde Nast.
While those moves may help rectify some frustration within the corridors of One World Trade, there are larger concerns at the publishing company related to whether chief executive officer Bob Sauerberg has the right strategy and people in place to lead the company to thrive in this tumultuous environment. Then again, those concerns are far from unique to Condé Nast, and are instead symptomatic of bigger shifts in the media landscape.
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