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It looks like another wave of layoffs is coming to Forbes. Although True/Slant founder Lewis Dvorkin doesn’t officially assume responsibility for all of Forbes’ editorial areas as chief product officer until Tuesday, insiders say he has been paying close attention to the masthead since he started consulting for the company last month. This time around, it is believed layoffs will affect the top of the masthead, which currently boasts two chief editors (William Baldwin on the print side and Paul Maidment for online), four managing editors, seven executive editors and 11 department heads. (Lucy Maher, who was the eighth executive editor and headed up the lifestyle channel, just resigned from the magazine. She is moving to Hearst Magazines Digital Media as executive director of network programming, effective June 7.) “He’s going to be ruthless about the cuts,” said one insider of Dvorkin.
It’s no news morale has been at rock bottom at Forbes, nor that the company has been hurting financially. In January, Forbes sold its lower-Fifth Avenue headquarters to New York University. Last year, the company laid off about 100 workers and auctioned off its wine collection. And things aren’t necessarily looking up. Year to date, ad pages in the magazine have declined about 22 percent, according to Media Industry Newsletter. Most of its competitors, meanwhile, have posted only single-digit declines in ad pages. And in the second half of last year, Forbes’ newsstand sales were down about 9 percent compared with the same period of 2008, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations. A Forbes spokeswoman denied the speculation, saying: “There has been no talk of layoffs.” Dvorkin was unavailable for comment.
— Nick Axelrod