Condé Nast is effectively at a standstill until it finds a new chief executive officer to run its troubled publishing business, but there are at most a handful of executives around who can meet all of its current needs.
The combined list of characteristics and experience that industry and executive search experts said is required of whoever is to replace Bob Sauerberg — who is being forced out amid Condé’s long-coming decision to dissolve the boundary between its U.S. and international operations and further cut costs — is extremely long. Almost as long as the list of Condé’s own problems.
Condé’s days of being able to spend big on the best talent and let them do their thing seem long ago — the last 10 years it’s been in decline, but the last five have been a true spiral. “Anger. Denial. Chaos,” is how one source succinctly described the company over the last decade and its response to the digital wave that overtook it.