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CUTS AT THE TOP: Condé Nast chief executive officer Chuck Townsend
warned staffers in an internal memo March 5 that the company “will have to make additional difficult decisions to manage costs and ensure our financial well-being.” On Wednesday, one of those decisions affected the Condé Nast Media Group: the division laid off around 10 of its 135 staffers. A company spokeswoman confirmed the layoffs but did not confirm a specific number of employees dismissed. The move comes as Condé Nast has taken another hard look at its numbers after a tough first quarter, where ad pages across its biggest titles posted large double-digit losses compared with the first quarter of 2008. The recession has taken a large bite out of the Media Group as well — though it’s responsible for nearly 80 percent of Condé Nast’s ad revenue, the division has canceled two of its largest marketing programs, Fashion Rocks and Movies Rocks, due to the economic climate.
In recent weeks, publishers within Condé Nast have been asked to identify another 10 percent of their individual budgets that could be trimmed, whether from head count or from expenditures on travel and events. The move follows a decision in November to trim 5 percent of both budgets and head count for the entire company. Since then, Condé Nast has instituted a company-wide wage freeze, cut tuition reimbursement and reduced pension benefits. — Stephanie D. Smith