The Condé Nast subsidiary that publishes the fashion trade magazine, Women’s Wear Daily, has lost its director. This follows a year of layoffs and cutbacks at the magazine conglomerate, which also houses the fashion titles Vogue, W, Vanity Fair, Glamour, and Allure.
Richard “Mad Dog” Beckman, a 24-year Condé Nast veteran, is leaving a division in turmoil. There had been plans to add a menswear counterpart of WWD, a generally successful title. The new magazine would fill a hole at the company left by the failure of its consumer title Men’s Vogue, which folded last year.
Condé, however, is gasping for cash, and would have had trouble starting a new fashion title in the current economic environment, even with Beckman in charge. With the surprise loss of a division head, and no obvious successor to him, the fate of the new trade may be in doubt.
Far from adding titles, Condé is still looking for ways to cut costs, and may find one of its fashion mags redundant – as it did when it closed Gourmet, leaving Bon Appetit as its sole culinary magazine. In the lobby of the Condé Naste headquarters off Times Square, there’s a notice offering $10,000 for any employee who can think up a successful new strategy. “Chuck Townsend,” it reads, referring to the company CEO, “wants to hear your ideas.”