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2008 January 23

Breaking News: Ingrid Sischy & Sandra Brant Resign

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(NEW YORK) Ingrid Sischy and Sandra Brant are saying goodbye to Interview.

The magazine today confirmed that Brant, chief executive officer, president, and publisher of Interview magazine parent company Brant Publications, has decided to sell her 50 percent interest in the company to Peter Brant, her co-owner and ex-husband. She is expected to remain at the company to ensure a smooth transition.

"Owning Interview, Art in America, and The Magazine Antiques and building them into a uniquely successful publishing company has been a great source of both joy and pride.  However, I have been running the magazines for 23 years and after a great deal of consideration, I believe it’s time for me to have a second chapter in my life and I am confident that I leave Brant Publications well-positioned to thrive," said Brant. "In its early days the company was saddled with significant debt and, its flagship title, Interview was subject to declining ad pages and stagnant circulation. Now the company is debt free and profitable thanks to the work of so many dedicated, talented people. I am very grateful to all of them and I wish Peter Brant all the best in his stewardship of these great magazines."

Sischy, meanwhile, an 18-year veteran of the magazine, has also relinquished her title as editor-in-chief of Interview. “I have had the honor of editing one of the most unique titles in magazine publishing and working with tremendously talented people in our industry. With Sandra Brant's decision to sell her interest in Brant Publications, it is only appropriate that I resign at this time. Sandy and I have worked together as a team, and that has been a huge part of the fun of it. While it is difficult to contemplate being away from this extraordinary experience, the time is right and Interview is firmly positioned for even greater success," Sischy commented.

Rumors of Sischy’s possible exit from the magazine arose January 10, when Gawker reported that she had left in the New Year. A representative for the magazine denied the claim at the time, telling Fashion Week Daily, “Ingrid is on her annual holiday with Elton John in Africa. She’s been unfortunately working from there this week and will be back in the office on Monday. We have no idea where this came from.”

Interview
is published by Brant Publications, which also puts out Art in America and The Magazine Antiques, as well as special-interest books. The publishing house, which acquired Interview from the estate of Andy Warhol in May 1989 for about $10 million, is owned equally by Sandra Brant, president and chief executive officer (who is also Interview’s publisher), and her former husband Peter Brant, who is both chairman and a silent partner. At the time of the acquisition, Henry Ansbacher Inc., a media investment banking firm, handled the sale of the pop culture title, which had never been profitable until the Brants came on board.

But while it’s public knowledge that the duo retained the services of investment bank Allen & Co. in 2006 to explore strategic alternatives to help refinance the magazines in their quest to expand, according to sources familiar with the situation, a departure by Sischy, either now or further down the line, would not have been at all surprising. “They’re overhauling Interview and getting ready for something newer and fresher,” said a well-placed source at the time.

Of her departure from the magazine, Sischy explained, “When I was first drafted as editor after Andy Warhol’s death I thought I’d stay a few years, devote myself to helping the magazine find its post-Warhol life, and then get back to my writing. Although leaving the magazine and wonderful staff behind is difficult, it is the right decision and one that will allow the new owners to establish their own editorial stamp on the magazine. I am now more than ever, eager to get back to my writing and have several big projects in front of me that need my attention. I am proud of what Sandy and my editorial team have accomplished in terms of content and growth. I wish everyone the best of luck and hope this great American magazine will continue to flourish.”

Brant remarked, “Ingrid has done a masterful job of making Interview successful. When she first arrived here after Andy’s death the future of the magazine was in question and there was an enormous amount of anxiety. She not only moved us through that period but has taken the magazine to a level of success and recognition that is beyond anything we thought possible. Her leadership, thoughtfulness, journalistic expertise, and editorial vision have been critical.”

Ms. Sischy started her career at Artforum magazine in 1979 and is a widely published author on a range of cultural subjects. The fashion and photography critic for The New Yorker, she has contributed to publications such as The New York Times and has been a contributing editor for Vanity Fair since 1997. In 1996 she was the artistic director of the first Florence Fashion Biennale, conceiving and organizing the exhibition which occupied 26 museums throughout Florence, Italy and its outskirts. Part of this exhibition was subsequently presented at the Guggenheim Museum. A graduate of Sarah Lawrence College, she received an honorary PhD in the humanities from the Moore College of Art in 1987.
JIM SHI




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