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Nicholas Coleridge, managing director of Condé Nast UK, clearly doesn’t allow personal matters to interfere with professional ones. On Tuesday he named Catherine Ostler to succeed Geordie Greig as editor of Tatler — even though she happens to be married to one of his colleagues, Albert Read, general manager of Condé Nast’s U.K. office. By most accounts, she was the right choice: Colleagues and industry insiders say Ostler, the front-runner for the position, can produce a magazine and penny-pinch at the same time. Ostler, who begins work in March, was out of town and unavailable for comment Tuesday. Since 2002, she’s edited ES Magazine, which comes out every Friday with London’s Evening Standard, on a painfully tight budget, and with a skeleton staff that worked double time — her fashion director often wrote feature stories in between shoots and fashion shows — and a regular stable of freelancers and columnists.
Ostler, who served as features editor of Tatler in the early Nineties and later worked at the Mail on Sunday and The Times of London weekend section, had a newsy approach to ES that one source said will help her breathe new life into Tatler — the socialites’ title of choice — during these lean times. “Nothing was ever really planned too far in advance at ES — she just took the latest news, what’s hot right now, and made it glossy,” the source said. In the past few weeks, ES magazine’s stories have ranged from the new Qatari property investors in London, to advice on how to talk to friends who’ve been fired to the standard celebrity front-page profile. She also turned out regular themed issues, on men’s wear, travel, fashion and luxury. And while she’ll certainly bring a new vibe to Tatler, her regime might not sit well with everyone. “I heard there might be some rejoicing over at ES,” said a fellow editor. “She’s a tough one.”