Jill Bright, the chief administrative officer of the Conde Nast magazine empire, is the most powerful woman at the company, according to a must-read story in Adweek.
That would make her more powerful than Vogue editor Anna Wintour, who in this context might best be described as merely the most famous woman at Conde Nast.
Bright became “so powerful, she’s scary,” as Adweek puts it, via the HR department. Usually, power inside CN accumulates with those who control the ad revenue or the editorial product.
Bright is regarded internally as a potential successor to CEO Chuck Townsend, given that she’s been his “consigliere” at the company for many years. Lucia Moses reports:
Bright may be inscrutable, but the question of how someone who’s not in a revenue-producing role or advancing a new business model could become so important at the company is one of endless debate inside its walls. When it comes to talk of succession, Bright’s name is mentioned in the same breath as Townsend and family scions Steve and Jonathan Newhouse.
Adweek makes her sound like a character from the movie “The Devil Wore Prada,” imperious and distant:
She’s known for not returning emails. … Said [a] sales-side exec, “… The only Achilles heel she has is, she operates in the shadows.”
And she’s a full-on corporate soldier:
When asked at one point about her identity as a minority woman at the company (Bright is African-American), she claimed not to think about it, saying, “I don’t think of myself, so I don’t really think other people might think about it. I think I’m very Condé Nast.”
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