On Tuesday Condé Nast announced that Anna Wintour would become artistic director of all the company’s titles, an additional role to her duties as editor-in-chief of Vogue. The promotion puts a fork in years of rumors about Wintour leaving Vogue and Condé to retire or become an ambassador for President Obama, whose campaign she raised millions for in the 2012 election. Condé Nast Chief Executive Charles H. Townsend told the New York Times the artistic director job was created to help keep Anna at the company. But several Condé Nast staffers I spoke to outside of Vogue seem baffled by the move.
“I would go to great distances to avoid losing Anna, particularly in the prime of her career,” Townsend told the Times. Condé employees wonder if the promotion is a counter offer to another job Wintour was considering, and if so, what that job was. Of course, there’s also some concern over just how Wintour will exact her influence on other publications — while photographers hired by Vogue are held to precise standards, those hired by other magazines have a lot more creative control over their work.
Wintour did not specify what exactly she’d do in her artistic director role at the company. It’s unclear if she’ll work on covers or other photo shoots, but the Times piece and press release about her promotion fail to mention how she might influence the company’s websites — which Condé has slowly been trying to improve in recent years — in this new role.
This summer marks Wintour’s 25th year as Vogue’s editor in chief. So much for retirement.