“Unless we want to look like a museum, we had to change and change quite radically,” he added.
For the past year, Ms. Wintour has 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 Glamor — into global brands, each under one leader, cutting costs and streamlining content sharing across print magazines and digital platforms.
“Instead of 27 Vogues or 10 Vogues chasing one story, we have one global Vogue chasing it,” said Ms. Wintour. “So it’s more like a global newsroom with different hubs.”
The switch from local to global has not gone well everywhere. Tina Brown, the former editor of The New Yorker and Vanity Fair, called the plan “suicidal” in an August interview with The Times of London.
“Of course there are some stories that work, especially when you think about fashion, which is a world language and music, so there are stories that work in all areas, and then stories that definitely don’t work,” Ms Wintour said. “We know that very well.”
Ms. Wintour also makes sure that there will probably be no more Anna Wintours – no more imperial editors-in-chief each with their own fief, a job Ms. Wintour herself has created as a stylish yet discerning gatekeeper of fashion and culture. The brands are now led by “global editorial directors,” most of whom are based in New York, with regional heads of content reporting to them.
“You used to make 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 work across a variety of platforms, including “digital, video, short and long form, social, events, philanthropic efforts, membership, consumer, e-commerce,” said Ms. Wintour.
“You touch so many different worlds,” she added. “Honestly, who wouldn’t want that job?”
Amid the change at Condé Nast, many people decided not to.