No Longer Standen

WWD Digital Daily - - Memo Pad -

The found­ing leader of

Condé Nast's brand­ing agency is leav­ing the com­pany, WWD has learned.

Dirk Standen, who led Condé's 23 Stories agency since it started in 2015 but has been with the com­pany in vary­ing roles for 15 years, is leav­ing the pub­lisher at a time of gen­eral up­heaval.

Condé is rapidly con­sol­i­dat­ing in an at­tempt to get to a more dig­i­tal-first ap­proach and while its brand­ing agency cer­tainly has a fu­ture (it's been one of few fi­nan­cial bright spots over the years) the role of edi­tor in chief doesn't seem to fit in with plans for ef­fi­ciency. How­ever, Stephanie Smith, cur­rently se­nior edi­tor of 23 Stories, is still in her role.

Standen wrote in a note that his ten­ure at Condé, which in­cluded a stint as edi­tor in chief of the now de­funct, has been “in­tense and in­tensely re­ward­ing.” He called work­ing with so many tal­ented peo­ple over the years, on the editorial side and then the ad­ver­tis­ing side, “the thrill of a life­time.”

“I'm look­ing for­ward to com­bin­ing those ex­pe­ri­ences in my next ad­ven­ture,” Standen added.

A Condé rep­re­sen­ta­tive could not be im­me­di­ately reached for com­ment.

The change comes only a few weeks af­ter Condé re­vealed it was ex­pand­ing and re­brand­ing 23 Stories as CNX un­der John Deschner, who was tapped from out­side the com­pany to be man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of the new brand­ing group. This type of agency work, born un­der the 23 Stories name and with Standen's over­sight, has be­come a sub­stan­tial source of rev­enue for Condé, which now does all kinds of agency-type work, such as creative cam­paigns and event pro­duc­tion and cast­ing, along with branded and “white la­bel” con­tent.

At the time of the re­brand­ing and Deschner's hir­ing, Anna Win­tour, Condé's artis­tic di­rec­tor and long­time edi­tor in chief of Vogue, said the creative agency “has flour­ished since it was cre­ated just a few short years ago” and that ex­pand­ing it “was a nat­u­ral next step.”

As for Deschner — whom Condé said was not re­plac­ing Standen but fill­ing a role left open by Josh St­inch­comb, who left over the sum­mer to be­come chief rev­enue of­fi­cer at Dow Jones — he's spent nearly all of his ca­reer work­ing in ad­ver­tis­ing. He was most re­cently chief in­no­va­tion of­fi­cer and man­ag­ing di­rec­tor at TBWA/Chiat/Day, the U.S. arm of TBWA World­wide, and in­ter­na­tional agency owned by Om­ni­com Group. — K.H.

Dirk Standen in 2016.

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