NEW YORK, United States — Condé Nast said Tuesday that the company’s chief digital officer since 2012, Fred Santarpia, will depart on November 2, part of a larger effort to combine the company’s US and international product and technology platforms. The magazine publisher is in the process of trying to adapt to a digital media reality as audiences and advertising dollars shift online.
The announcement is another step towards integration for Condé Nast and Condé Nast International, both divisions of the Newhouse family’s privately held Advance Publications. This summer, the companies integrated the US and UK editorial teams of Condé Nast Traveller under the leadership of the British title’s editor-in-chief, Melinda Stevens.
Santarpia’s exit makes way for the formation of a global product and technology team that will be led by Ed Cudahy, chief technology officer at Condé Nast, and Lee Wilkinson, director of strategic change (overseeing tech, engineering and product teams) at Condé Nast International. Both will jointly report to chief executive Bob Sauerberg and Condé Nast International president Wolfgang Blau, whose role includes the duties of chief digital officer.
The goal is to create a single, global platform for all of Condé Nast’s websites. Currently Copilot, the US publisher’s custom content management system developed under Santarpia, is part of Compass, Condé Nast International’s technology platform. Condé Nast International has been migrating its international sites onto Copilot and building other capabilities around it in recent years. In the coming months, 59 of its international sites will be brought onto Compass as the publisher continues to strengthen its digital systems.
“We want to build on this success by formally mobilizing our product and technology organizations to work towards a set of common goals for both Condé Nast and Condé Nast International,” Sauerberg said in a memo. “By deepening our collaboration through the joint platform development, product and technology support, global supplier negotiations and the continued development of our Fashion Show products; we can unlock unlimited opportunities to scale our expertise and drive significant growth.”
The pressure is on for Condé Nast to invest in its digital platform and share resources in order to work more efficiently as an entire organization in the face of declining print budgets — and to return to profitability after a challenging 2017.
Meanwhile at Conde Nast International, which remains profitable, Blau is reorganizing the business around brands instead of countries starting with Vogue, with which he has led the formation of a digital content hub in London. The company is also launching editions of Vogue and GQ in new territories.