Anna Wintour has received yet another Condé Nast promotion after being named as the media company’s first-ever chief executive officer – just months after she admitted to allowing ‘hurtful and intolerant’ behavior amid furious calls for her resignation from black journalists.
The 71-year-old’s latest promotion comes just 16 months after Wintour was given another boost up the company ladder by being named global content adviser, in addition to her roles as Vogue Editor-in-Chief and Condé Nast artistic director.
Her new title will be global chief content officer of Condé Nast and global editorial director of Vogue, giving her control over all of the publications 25 editions across the globe; she will also continue to run Vogue US as Editor-in-Chief.
On the up? Anna Wintour has been promoted to Condé Nast’s chief content officer, months after she admitted to allowing ‘hurtful and intolerant’ behavior at Vogue
Wintour’s promotion follows a rocky year both for the editrix personally, and the media company that she has worked at for nearly 40 years, which announced pay cuts, furloughs, and layoffs earlier this year, blaming the financial pressure created by the coronavirus pandemic.
It also comes just months after Wintour publicly admitted to allowing ‘hurtful and intolerant’ behavior during her 32-year reign at the fashion magazine, as well as conceding that she had not done enough to champion black staffers and designers.
The admissions were included in a company-wide memo Wintour authored to her staff in June amid nationwide unrest and protests calling for racial equality, following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody on Memorial Day.
‘I want to start by acknowledging your feelings and expressing my empathy towards what so many of you are going through: sadness, hurt, and anger too,’ Wintour began.
‘I want to say this especially to the Black members of our team — I can only imagine what these days have been like. But I also know that the hurt, and violence, and injustice we’re seeing and talking about have been around for a long time. Recognizing it and doing something about it is overdue.’
Something new: The 71-year-old has also been named as the global editorial director of Vogue, giving her control over all of the publications 25 editions across the world
Anna Wintour admits to allowing ‘hurtful and intolerant’ behavior in company-wide statement
‘I want to start by acknowledging your feelings and expressing my empathy towards what so many of you are going through: sadness, hurt, and anger too.
‘I want to say this especially to the Black members of our team — I can only imagine what these days have been like. But I also know that the hurt, and violence, and injustice we’re seeing and talking about have been around for a long time. Recognizing it and doing something about it is overdue.
‘I want to say plainly that I know Vogue has not found enough ways to elevate and give space to Black editors, writers, photographers, designers and other creators. We have made mistakes too, publishing images or stories that have been hurtful or intolerant.
‘I take full responsibility for those mistakes. It can’t be easy to be a Black employee at Vogue, and there are too few of you. I know that it is not enough to say we will do better, but we will — and please know that I value your voices and responses as we move forward. I am listening and would like to hear your feedback and your advice if you would like to share either.
‘I am proud of the content we have published on our site over these past few days but I also know that there is much more work to do. Please don’t hesitate to be in touch with me directly. I am arranging ways we can discuss these issues together candidly, but in the meantime, I welcome your thoughts or reactions.
‘This is a historic and heartbreaking moment for our country and it should be a time of listening, reflection, and humility for those of us in positions of privilege and authority. It should also be a time of action and commitments. On a corporate level, work is being done to support organizations in a real way. These actions will be announced as soon as possible.’
However Wintour’s mea culpa memo did little to quell the controversy surrounding her decision to remain in her role – and in October, a group of 18 black journalists who have worked with her over the years accused her of favoring employees who are thin, white, and from elite backgrounds in a piece published by the New York Times.
Eleven of them called for her resignation following offensive incidents involving her use of the word ‘pickaninny’, and other cultural appropriation controversies.
Condé Nast CEO Roger Lynch, the man responsible for her latest promotion, has publicly backed Wintour, laughing off mounting calls for her to stand down from the company in June.
‘There is no truth to that,’ Lynch said with a laugh, when multiple staff questioned Wintour’s future at the company. He also confirmed that Wintour would maintain her position on Condé Nast’s diversity committee.
Lynch insisted that Wintour was key to turning the company around, calling her ‘an incredibly positive force for change,’ according to The Daily Beast, a statement that he has now doubled down on by moving her up the corporate ladder once again.
The media CEO once again heaped praise on Wintour while announcing her new role, which he described as a ‘pivotal moment’ for the company, calling the long-time Vogue boss ‘one of media’s most distinguished executives’.
He also praised her for ‘cultivating and mentoring’ new talent in the industry – despite Wintour conceding in June that she has not done enough to champion black staffers and designers during her time at Vogue.
‘Anna’s appointment represents a pivotal moment for Condé Nast as her ability to stay ahead in connecting with new audiences, while cultivating and mentoring some of today’s brightest talent in the industry, has made her one of media’s most distinguished executives,’ Lynch said in a statement.
The fashion icon’s was last promoted just 16 months ago, when she was named as the company’s global content adviser, a position that came as part of Condé Nast’s attempts to implement a more cohesive ‘global structure’.
In the months since then however, the company has faced a slew of controversies that has seen several top-level employees resigning, including Bon Appétit Editor-in-Chief Adam Rapoport, who left his role after a photo surfaced of him and his wife Simone Shubuck dressed as derogatory Puerto Rican stereotypes.
Matt Duckor, who heads video programming for Condé Nast, also resigned after old tweets surfaced were he made offensive comments about gay people and people of color.
Support: Condé Nast CEO Roger Lynch, pictured with Wintour in May 2019, said that her promotion marked a ‘pivotal moment’ for the media company