[by James Robinson] Early in September, as models and magazine editors arrive in the capital for London fashion week, a report by management consultants McKinsey & Co is set to land on the desk of “Si” Newhouse Jr at Vogue publisher Condé Nast. The octogenarian chairman of the luxury publishing house summoned the men in grey suits to its New York offices six weeks ago in a bid to protect profits in the wake of the worst advertising recession in a generation.
McKinsey is expected to put forward a cost-cutting programme at the American arm of the group, which also owns fashion magazine Allure, GQ and the New Yorker. The idea of sombre management consultants ploughing through the expense account of Vogue editor Anna Wintour and quizzing Graydon Carter, who runs Vanity Fair, about the cost of the title’s lavish Oscars party is a delicious one for Condé Nast’s competitors, which include National Magazines, publisher of Esquire and Harper’s Bazaar. All publishers are struggling, but Condé Nast has carved out a niche at the top end of the industry by investing huge sums in its titles, using their market dominance to charge the highest advertising rates. It is not a company usually associated with cutting corners.
Jonathan Newhouse, Si’s cousin and head of Condé Nast International
This article originally appeared in Â© Guardian News & Media Ltd..