It’s so bad at Conde Nast: Graydon Carter spotted in the canteen

Job elimination experts McKinsey & Co are currently touring Conde Nast’s New York office with one of those people zapper phasers. Okay, it’s a spreadsheet really, but the end result is all the same. No job is apparently safe unless you work at the New Yorker magazine.

The New York Observer has a long piece about the McKinsey’s visit to Conde Nast’s building at 4 Times Square, where the management consultancy firm is reviewing the way the magazine firm does business from top to bottom.

The piece has lots of telling observations and interviews from various editors about how bad things in the once super-glamorous magazine company (hey it must be, they put in two movies*) have got that even Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter has been seen, get this, in the staff cafeteria. Seriously. Apparently, he was checking out the stir fry options and looking uncomfortable. Maybe he was wondering if people really ate the food? Just a thought.

“I saw Graydon in the cafeteria this week!” said one business-side insider told the New York Observer. “In all my years here, I’ve never seen him in my life there. He was behind me in the line at checkout with his little swipe card. He was milling around uncomfortably with the commoners.”

The reason he was down there could have something to do with the $5.3m interest free loan Conde Nast gave him, according to Gawker, to buy some four-story greek revival townhouse in Greenwich Village. Maybe they asked for it back.

People shouldn’t fear too much as it wasn’t clear he actually sat down and ate lunch, but apparently the sight of him put the Observer’s source into a bit of a panic.

Either that or he could have merely been on a reconnaissance mission. He might return, or maybe he thought that really Conde Nast owed him at least one last splash of an order from the New York restaurant Balthazar where apparently Vanity Fair staffers would order takeouts of sandwiches and cheese plates several times a week.

Now it seems you are more likely to hear Conde Nast staff say things like “Let’s go to Pret A Manger instead”. Wow they’re almost like us. It’s scary.

Well not all of them. When it was initially revealed that McKinsey was being brought in, reports said there would be no sacred cows – staff at the recently closed Portfolio magazine and However, the New York Observer now says that Conde Nast CEO Chuck Townsend has told the New Yorker’s editor David Remnick that the magazine would be immune. Probably why he hasn’t been spotted in the staff canteen.

*The Devil Wears Prada – based on Conde Nast’s Vogue and How To Lose Friends and Alienate People, based on Toby Young’s time working for Graydon Carter at Vanity fair.


  • Jessica Summerfield



  • Gordon Macmillan

    Well that’s a documentary, but fair enough that’s THREE.