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“Face masks, social distancing, weeks spent at home: everything about life feels different now. I think of the simple pleasures we once took for granted—like going to the theater, dinner with friends, coming into the office—and they seem to me like impossible luxuries. It’s true that this is a time of anxiety and sadness, and that there is more of both to come, but I also believe it's a time of gratitude.” At the link in our bio, Anna Wintour shares what she is most grateful for right now, as well as a kind reminder to please wear a face mask when you go outside. Share a photo of yourself in your mask to show your support. #masks4all #stayhome
Even before the pandemic, print media was struggling, especially magazines. Magazines were getting creative, trying to throw most of their content into “digital issues” and paid online magazine subscriptions. Vogue Magazine and their international editions have never used online subscriptions, content to merely offer free online content and then depend on their subscribers to the print editions, and the advertising from luxury designer brands. Well, that model has collapsed during the pandemic. Conde Nast will probably lay off thousands of employees, but first they’re making their top editors and executives take big pay cuts:
Condé Nast, the most glittering of all magazine publishers, is the latest media casualty of the coronavirus pandemic. Roger J. Lynch, the chief executive of the company behind Vogue, Vanity Fair and The New Yorker, sent a memo on Monday to 6,000 employees around the world to inform them of an austerity plan that includes pay cuts, furloughs and possible layoffs.
“It’s very likely our advertising clients, consumers and therefore our company will be operating under significant financial pressure for some time,” Mr. Lynch said in the note. “As a result, we’ll need to go beyond the initial cost-savings measures we put in place to protect our business for the long term.”
The salaries of those earning $100,000 or more — just under half the company — will be reduced by 10 to 20 percent for five months, starting in May, the memo said. The pay of executives in the senior management team, including Anna Wintour, the artistic director and Condé Nast’s best-known figurehead, will be cut 20 percent. In addition, Mr. Lynch said that he would forgo half of his salary, and that board members who were not employees of Advance Publications (the holding company that owns Condé Nast), like Domenico De Sole, former chief executive of Gucci Group, would take a 50 percent reduction in their compensation.
The company plans to start three- or four-day workweeks for some employees in markets such as Britain and the European Union, “in particular where government programs and stimulus packages can help supplement employees’ earnings,” Mr. Lynch wrote in the memo. Condé Nast is not directly asking for government money, but is instead exploring the use of relief programs and stimulus packages in certain regions for furloughed or laid-off employees. The company plans to take advantage of the “partial activity” assistance programs in those parts of the world to make up for the lost salary of furloughed employees or those whose hours have been cut.
It’s worth noting that the talk of Conde Nast using existing relief programs in “certain regions” will almost certainly be for the European editions of Vogue. No such relief program exists for American magazine workers. And we still haven’t gotten those $1200 “relief checks” because the Trump administration can’t do anything. Anyway, I do appreciate when struggling companies decide that their first move is to make their highest paid employees take a paycut. That’s how it should be.
Also, props to Anna Wintour – she was very smart (very early) about social distancing and encouraging Vogue employees to work from home. Anna is not just worried about her own people at Vogue, she’s worried about fashion designers, people who work within the fashion, styling and magazine industries, and of course she’s worried about medical people too. Did you know her son is a doctor? I did not.
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“Tom [Ford] and I are not doctors, but there is so much help that is needed, especially as small businesses and workers around this country suffer devastating economic consequences,” Anna Wintour says, adding: “The fashion industry has been hit hard. I have been speaking to so many American designers and others in the community who fear that they won’t make their payroll or have had their orders returned, stores closed, who fear that their businesses and their livelihoods may not survive what we’re going through. The fund we’ve created is intended to help them and the talented people they work with.” Tap the link in our bio to learn more about the #CVFFACommonThread fund and to donate if you can.
Photos courtesy of Vogue’s IG.