First off, he started as a business reporter for DNR, the now defunct men’s wear industry paper and a brother publication to WWD under the Fairchild Fashion umbrella. Not a typical training ground for marketing executives. But it proved to be a good one for Clinton, who went to the advertising side of the business in his 20s, more or less on a whim, 41 years ago.
Then there’s that number. Forty-one years is a long career in any industry, but to be an executive in magazine media, with its frequent regime changes, upswings and downturns, it’s an eternity. After seven years at Fairchild, where he got his first experience on the ad side with the Fairchild launch Sport Style, which covered the sporting goods industry, he headed to Condé Nast. After 13 years there, starting as publisher of GQ and then up the executive ranks, he jumped to rival Hearst Magazines, where he’s been for the last 21 years. Clinton has led marketing and publishing for the entire outfit under three presidents and three chief executive officers. Now retiring of his own volition and staying on as an adviser to ceo Steve Swartz by request, Clinton is fully aware of how many colleagues have been nudged or shoved out the door.