In his memo to staffers announcing the closure of Gourmet, Cookie, Elegant Bride and Modern Bride, CEO Chuck Townsend said that workforce reductions were “underway throughout the company.” He wasn’t lying. What he didn’t mention was that the cuts would be made at a painfully slow pace.
The first to be let go, of course, were those employees who worked at the affected magazines. But then came news that its surviving bridal title Brides reduced its workforce by 12 people. Before the week was done, Condé Nast Digital was said to have cut 15 positions.
And the layoffs continued to roll. The following week, 14 people were let go between Vogue and sister fashion magazine W. Vanity Fair reportedly lost “a handful” of staffers and Glamour was said to have “trimmed staff,” too. Cuts also came from the company’s corporate sales efforts under the Condé Nast Media Group. The most recent layoffs came last week: Condé’s Golfing Group cut 19 people.
When I spoke with Townsend on October 6, he said 180 people had lost their jobs. That number is climbing.
It’s like Condé has taken a page out of the Time Inc. playbook. Jaws dropped late last year when the mega publisher said it was axing up to 600 jobs as part of a major restructuring. After the announcement, news of more and more and more layoffs were unveiled in slow motion. It must have been a killer for employee morale.
The same is happening this year at Condé Nast. While the story(ies) are a boon for some media reporters, I can’t imagine working there and anticipating a pink slip today. Or maybe tomorrow. Or perhaps—well, no one really knows when.
And the cuts might continue. A Condé Nast spokesperson told me the company is "not commenting on specific reductions or overall numbers." She also declined to comment when I asked if Condé was all done reconfiguring its workforce structure.