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PLAY IT AGAIN, CHUCK: Condé Nast likely triggered a few cases of déjà vu on Monday when the company said it will move the editorial operations of Bon Appétit from Los Angeles to New York, as it had with Architectural Digest in June, and that it will do so minus a longtime editor…as it had with Architectural Digest in June. Barbara Fairchild, a 32-year veteran of the food title and its editor in chief for the last decade, will leave the magazine after it completes the cross-country trek later this year. However, unlike Architectural Digest’s Paige Rense Noland, who retired, Condé Nast said Fairchild is moving on to pursue the proverbial “other opportunities.” A company spokeswoman said Fairchild, who is bicoastal, was unable to commit to a full-time move to New York when approached last week. (Whatever the case, the parting couldn’t have been too chilly, since the magazine publisher said some of those opportunities may come with Condé Nast.) The company said it plans to name a successor after the transition to New York.
Fairchild’s farewell comes about a year after Condé Nast shuttered in-house rival Gourmet, and made Bon Appétit the future for the company in the epicurean category. Bon Appétit has performed reasonably well this year, with a 6.5 percent gain in ad pages to 489.6 through October, according to Media Industry Newsletter. But the title has also seen increased competition from the upstart Food Network Magazine. In little more than a year of full-fledged existence, the Hearst Magazines and Scripps Networks Interactive co-venture has become an instant power player in the field, and tripled its rate base to 1.25 million, by leaning heavily on its association with various Food Network personalities.
Condé Nast chief executive officer Charles Townsend was not available for comment, but said that Bon Appétit’s call home is part of the company’s effort to “strategically align our brands for future growth and to enhance efficiencies and coordination by consolidating our assets.”
Once the Bon Appétit and Architectural Digest moves are complete, all but one of the company’s U.S. magazines will be headquartered in New York. The publisher didn’t say where Bon Appétit’s new test kitchens would be exactly, but the new digs will likely be only a staging ground before the entire company’s planned 2014 move to 1 World Trade Center. Those Wired San Francisco offices may want to take heed.
— Matthew Lynch