Elle’s New Floor Plan May Make For Some Sticky Office Politics
Elle magazine is celebrating its 25th year in print with a shiny new space in the Time Inc. Building. Problem is, it has an open floor plan, and only two big wigs at the magazine are going to get the kind of office with a door you can close.
We expected that Robin Domeniconi, Elle‘s senior vice president and chief brand officer, would be one of the people with a real office, along with maybe Roberta Myers, Elle‘s editor in chief. But when we found out that Myers and creative director Joe Zee would be the ones getting secluded spaces of their own, we had to pause.
Like all media operations, magazines are made up of two sides: editorial and publishing. For a long time people thought that edit was the more important of the two, but we know today that they’re equally crucial — you wouldn’t have 784 Ways To Work Your Style This Fall! without the slaves in the fashion closet, but you’d have to pay $12 an issue and upward for most magazines if there weren’t people chasing after ad buys at all hours of the day and night. Was it anything but natural to expect that the leader of each of these teams would get the honor of an office? We think not.
But last week, when Alain Lemarchand was still CEO of HFMUS, the publisher of Elle, ElleDECOR and Car and Driver, he told MediaWeek that the open floor plan was a good thing, and that even he’d be sitting out on the floor with everyone else. But now that he’s to be replaced with Steve Parr, who’s been in media and publishing for years, we have to wonder if that plan will remain.
Presumably, Zee received the honor of an office as a result of his celebrity and the likelihood of cameras following in his workplace wake, but it just seems strange that the people who really bring in the big bucks — the publishers, promotional executive, and ad sales people — were left out in the open.