Condé Nasties Lose Their Black Cars, Spa Days And Sushi Lunches


Poor Condé Nast. Staffers are taking clients for deli sandwiches instead of restaurant sushi; Poland Spring has replaced Fiji water, Orangina and Red Bull in office fridges; and, wait for it, famed Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter is eating with commoners in the cafeteria.

Here’s why: management consulting powerhouse McKinsey is on-site at the home of Vanity Fair, The New Yorker, Glamour and others, trying to figure out how to make the magazine giant more economically viable.

The firm feared for its getting people fired streamlining is meeting with “as many people as they realistically can,” says CEO Chuck Townsend in The New York Observer, before delivering its recommendations to management in eight weeks.

But there’s plenty of cost-cutting already. Some of the article’s highlights:

  • The New Yorker is safe: “Si Newhouse, reached out to Mr. Remnick shortly after the McKinsey announcement was made and told him not to worry about anything—the magazine would be just fine, and neither McKinsey nor company executives would be mucking with his editorial costs.”
  • Less black car use: “‘I really think twice about using a car now, and these drivers, their business is down between 50 and 70 per cent,’ said one business-side insider with access to a car. ‘These drivers are basically losing their entire livelihood. My driver said he’s going to probably sell his car and open a pizza parlor.'”
  • Spa treatment is out: ‘”Going to the spa is no longer a form of client entertainment,’ said one insider. ‘Women at this company will take clients to massages or mani-pedis. If your face is in a face cradle, that’s not going to be considered client entertainment anymore!'”
  • Less flowers: “It used to be that on Monday mornings, the flower deliverymen would clog the elevators while they brought fresh bouquets for editors’ and publishers’ desks. “You don’t really see them anymore,” said a source.
  • Sandwiches, not sushi: “‘Now we say things like, ‘Let’s go to Pret A Manger instead of going to Sushi Zen—let’s get sandwiches instead,’ said another source. Or, that source added, lots and lots of coffee instead of dinner and drinks.”
  • Poland Spring, not Fiji: “‘When I started, there was this little refrigerator, and it was stocked with amazing drinks,” said one ad-sales source. “Pellegrino, Orangina, Red Bull. And like the water wasn’t Poland Spring, it was like Fiji. I remember when I started working here, I emailed everyone I know and I was like, ‘I have to tell you about the drinks!'” But then in December, a few months after Condé Nast ordered publishers and editors to cut 5 per cent from their budgets, the drink supply emptied out. That Fiji water turned into Poland Spring. Worse, instead of the fridge, the water bottles were stowed in a warm closet.”