News & Scoops

2009 August 12

It's Good to be David Remnick

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(NEW YORK) In today's Observer piece proclaiming The Gilded Age of Condé Nast is Over, John Koblin delves into cost-cutting in Times Square and its environs with Chuck Townsend, the company's CEO. Among the revelations: Graydon has deigned to eat in the corporate caf, floral budgets have been slashed (pauve Belle Fleur), writers are still (presumably) earning $10 a word, and the salad bar is plagued by a shrunken selection of proteins. What, no shrimp? And these are just the latest developments. As of April, Town Car budgets essentially disappeared and once-gratis emergency day care began costing $30 for one child, $50 for deux or more. McKinsey analysts, hired by Condé Nast to take to take a "top-down look at the way we do business" (Townsend's words), will propose cuts to improve the company's bottom line in merely eight weeks.

But Koblin's most delicious gem concerns the man generally regarded as Condé's ultimate untouchable: The New Yorker editor David Remnick. "Two well-placed sources said that Condé Nast’s chairman, Si Newhouse, reached out to Mr. Remnick shortly after the McKinsey announcement was made and told him not to worry about anything—the magazine would be just fine, and neither McKinsey nor company executives would be mucking with his editorial costs," recounts Koblin. In fact, last Friday, the magazine managed to hang onto its longtime receptionist during a routine round of layoffs. Stanley Ledbetter, who has spent 20 years at The New Yorker, transitioned to the title of "editorial assistant," replacing one who ahd recently left the company. Tricky, tricky...

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