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Magazines Reshuffling Editors

With new editors in chief at several magazines, there’s been a predictable round of staff reshuffling.

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MAGAZINE MERRY-GO-ROUND: At Joanna Coles’ first big event as Cosmo editor in chief, a luncheon at Michael’s Monday, she was invariably described as sweet and friendly by celebrity pals.

“She’s smart, she takes charge, she’s a rushed person in the best of ways,” said former Hearst magazines chairwoman Cathie Black.

Coles moves fast, all right. On Wednesday, two days after the splashy lunch, seven features staffers, including a senior editor who’d been with the magazine for more than two years, and two in the photo department got the boot.

Coles is proving herself to be unsentimental when it comes to remaking the magazine.

During an editorial meeting, Coles told Jessica Knoll, who remains as the lone senior editor, “Kate [White] told me you’re a rock star. But Kate’s gone, so it doesn’t matter now,” New York magazine reported in September. It was a typically wry joke, but staff weren’t reassured when in October Coles brought in Marie Claire’s Joyce Chang as executive editor.

A Cosmo spokeswoman e-mailed a statement: “New incoming editors in chief often want to form their own teams. We will be announcing more new hires shortly.” Coles did not respond to requests for comment.

Coles is one of a handful of new editors in chief who’ve ushered in a recent round of staff reshuffling across the board. Several weeks ago, there were trades between Cosmo and Marie Claire, now under Anne Fulenwider, and moves to WSJ. magazine from Harper’s Bazaar.

Incidentally, Hearst Magazines confirmed rumors that Elle’s style director, Kate Lanphear, is leaving the magazine. She follows the recent departures of two senior accessories editors, Kate Davidson Hudson and Stefania Allen.

But, besides the occasional exception — Joe McKenna, for instance — editors are just swapping around familiar faces with each other.

Case in point is Thursday’s announcement from W on the hiring of Alix Browne to be its new features director.

Browne comes from T: The New York Times Style magazine, where she was deputy design editor, a few days after W’s Maura Egan was poached to be the new features director at Deborah Needleman’s T. In joining W, Browne, who started out as the editor in chief of V magazine, has come full circle. It was editor in chief Stefano Tonchi who had brought her to T during his tenure there.