Jim Nelson, the editor-in-chief of GQ, is leaving the magazine he helmed since 2003, The Post has learned.
Nelson’s exit, confirmed in a memo obtained by The Post, marks yet another big name editorial departure at Condé Nast, as the publisher continues to cut staff and costs, including fat salaries left over from the glory days of magazine publishing.
“Now feels like a good time for me to figure out the next chapter of my life. (It’ll be a good one, I promise),” Nelson said in the memo.
Nelson, who joined GQ as a senior editor in 1997, has been responsible for some of the men’s magazine’s biggest coups, including 64 National Magazine Award nominations and wins in categories from photography and design to general excellence and reporting.
He will be replaced by Will Welch, the 37-year-old editor in chief of GQ Style, the high-end quarterly edition of GQ.
“Will is the definition of a modern editor,” said Bob Sauerberg, CEO and President, Condé Nast. “He has a real command of how to create distinct and powerful content for every platform and understands the importance of inclusivity and authenticity in a brand’s voice today.”
Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour, who also serves as Condé’s artistic director said, “Will is responsible for so much of what has propelled GQ forward and has a clear vision for where it will go in the future… His knowledge and keen eye for fashion and design and how to present it in a democratic way is a big part of his success with the reader.”
Last September, Graydon Carter left Vanity Fair after a 25-year run as editor-in-chief, followed by Cindi Leive, Glamour’s editor of 16 years.
Earlier this year, there were rumors that fashion’s most famous editor, Wintour, who also serves as the company’s artistic director would be retiring. Those rumors have been vehemently denied by the publisher and Wintour, herself.
Instead, the company continues to focus on building its digital and video business and sell off underperforming glossies. Last month, Condé said it was selling its smaller titles, Brides, W and Golf Digest.
There have also been reports that Glamour, once the publishing house’s cash cow, is thinking of closing print. Another, and perhaps more likely scenario, would be slowly reducing the magazine’s frequency, sources said. There has also been buzz that Glamour is being informally shopped.
But all of those rumors have been shot down by Condé as just that, “rumors.” And at Condé Nast, which is still by most accounts, the buzziest magazine publisher around, there is no shortage of rumors— just print jobs.
Nelson, whose name been bandied about as the next big editorial departure for the last two years, offered a heartfelt goodbye to staffers Thursday.
“I’ve been at GQ for 21 years and in this job for more than 15 — a good, long, productive run, not to mention a ton of fun — and I’ve gotten to work with some of the most talented writers, editors, photographers, designers, and creative minds in the business,” Nelson wrote in the Thursday memo. “And with Will Welch taking over in the new year, I know that GQ will be in great hands.”
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