- Associated Press - Friday, July 23, 2010

NEW YORK (AP) - Publisher Conde Nast is shuffling its top ranks as it looks to boost growth amid a deep advertising slump across the magazine industry.

Among other changes, the company said Friday that it will split up the roles of President and CEO. Robert Sauerberg, previously head of the company’s consumer marketing division, will become president, while Charles Townsend will remain chief executive.

The company said Sauerberg will focus in particular on figuring out how Conde Nast, which publishes Vanity Fair and The New Yorker among its 18 magazines, can make more money outside of its traditinal advertising business.

The move comes as magazines see a glimmer of hope on the advertising front. The number of ad pages U.S. magazines sold in the second quarter inched up 0.8 percent over the same quarter a year ago, the first gain since 2007. Some of Conde Nast’s fashion magazines have seen a rebound in their September issues as well, with Vogue’s ad pages up 24 percent from last year and Glamour up 57 percent.

Still, ad spending on magazines remains well below what it was before the recession. Overall ad pages at U.S. magazines declined 26 percent last year, forcing Conde Nast to close several of its titles, including Gourmet and Portfolio.

The company’s announcement Friday is at least in part an acknowledgment that it can’t just wait for those ad pages to come back.

In a statement, Conde Nast said Sauerberg’s “primary responsibility will be to move the company to a new business model focused around digital connectivity, technology development, and consumer insight.”

As a part of the shift in focus, the company also said Chief Operating Officer John Bellando will take on the additional role of Chief Financial Officer.

And Louis Cona, executive vice president of Conde Nast Media Group, will expand his role to include the title of Chief Marketing Officer.

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