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BUYER’S REMORSE: The changes keep coming at Nylon Media, Inc. The latest to roil the company, which was recently sold to FashionIndie parents Diversis LLC and Backbone LLC, is the stepping down of chief executive officer Joe Mohen. He will now be an adviser to the magazine.
“He wasn’t let go from the position,” stressed Marc Luzzatto, Nylon Media Inc.’s executive chairman. “He moved to the spot we always envisioned as a technologist for us.” Luzzatto said that there would be no immediate successor and that he would take on that the ceo role as well. Dana Fields, vice president, chief revenue officer and publisher of Nylon, will resume overseeing editorial and publishing. Luzzatto said that Daniel Saynt, who became Nylon’s creative director after it merged with FashionIndie, will be promoted to executive vice president of digital strategy.
“He will take over all the digital and he will be the adviser of technology initiatives,” said Luzzatto.
The change in ceo comes at a rough time for Nylon, after a transition that has been anything but smooth. Last week, Mohen, along with Diversis LLC and Backbone LLC, were informed that the magazine’s co-founders, Marvin Scott Jarrett and Jaclynn Jarrett — who were dismissed from the deal — were taking legal measures in an attempt to win their magazine back.
“We are not commenting on that matter as of yet,” Luzzatto said.
The Jarretts declined comment.
According to a source close to the Jarretts’ camp, the two sent a letter to their former shareholder, Don Hellinger, informing him that the sale to Diversis and Backbone is void. “The Jarretts were completely blindsided by the sale and were shocked when this happened,” said a source. “It’s hurtful because they were locked out of the building, their emails shut down, and were told that none of their old staffers were to contact them. But they have formally filed and will move forward in this lawsuit.”
Not only is the new company prepping for a legal battle with its former owners, there are internal struggles between Nylon and their new FashionIndie colleagues.
“We don’t talk to any of them,” said a staffer at Nylon. “We don’t know what’s going on and no one tells us anything.”
Paranoia, another source said, has been rampant inside the offices ever since staffers learned they were under new ownership.
The morning the deal was completed, the source said, staffers received a group-wide text from executive editor Ashley Baker requesting each of them go to a breakfast before heading in. It was unusual, the source said, as it was rare for the staff to get together so early.
It was at that breakfast that Baker shed a few tears and told her colleagues: “Whatever happens, I’m so proud of each of you.”
Puzzled by her words, staffers went into the office that morning to find that their new owners were waiting for them, alongside Daniel Saynt and Beca Alexander, from FashionIndie.
“At first we were excited by the new ownership,” said the source. “To be frank, Marvin and Jacclyn don’t know how to run a magazine. They’re hardly there. They’re figureheads. It’s been extremely difficult working with them.”
The new owners were excited about the deal. “There is a lot of momentum and we see an optimistic future,” Mohen told the Nylon staffers. After less than 15 minutes, the meeting was adjourned.
“It was still very confusing, we still did not know what was going on,” said the source. “And never once did Daniel or Beca tell us who they were. We were all confused, like, why are they here?”
For the rest of the day, Saynt and Alexander — along with a handful of others from the FashionIndie staff — remained at the cramped office, even if they had no where to sit. “They all just literally stood there for the entire day, no desks, no anything,” the source said.
It wasn’t until Nylon staffers checked Saynt’s LinkedIn that they discovered he became the company’s new creative director. And staffers were peeved when they scrolled through Instagram to find Alexander posing in front of their neon pink Nylon insignia that morning with the caption: “On Mondays we wear pink…”
“I would have appreciated it if they told us upfront they were now a part of Nylon at that meeting,” the source said.
“We are so excited that the news was finally announced,” said Alexander in an email to WWD the weekend before her first day at Nylon. Alexander went on to explain that she would be announced as the new editor-at-large. Dani Stahl, who currently holds the position, was offered the publication’s style editor role, said Luzzatto.
According to another source, Saynt and Alexander had been eyeing to merge with Nylon for over a year, even approaching a few editors and bloggers to join the staff. None that they approached have since agreed to take on the job.
“Everyone is on edge there,” said a source who recently visited the office. “I was there as a guest and everyone was questioning what my intentions were.”
Saynt recently offered Baker the position of editor in chief. She declined.
Baker's last day will be June 6.
Saynt is still seeking someone to helm the publication. He declined to comment.