GQ continues to refashion masthead

Magazine's sales were up by 5.3% in 2nd half of 2002

NEW YORK — The shakeup continues at GQ, where just over a week after Jim Nelson stepped up as editor-in-chief, managing editor Martin Beiser has been asked to step aside.

“Marty will be here for the next few days” was all the press department had in the way of a statement. As of Friday, no successor had been named.

Staffers were bowled over by the announcement and further disturbed by Friday’s news of journo Michael Kelly’s death in Iraq. Kelly had been a frequent contributor to GQ.

Changing faces

Beiser is a 17-year vet of the Conde Nast men’s mag. In February, his former boss, Art Cooper, announced his retirement after 20 years of helming the publication. He declined comment.

While it is not unusual in the magazine world for top and managing editors to exit in pairs, sources said they were shocked by the news as Nelson and Beiser had been “friendly” and “good colleagues.”

The shuffling comes at a time when the 800,000-circulation monthly is slowly gaining ground after newsstand sales dipped over the last few years, due in part to the surging popularity of lad mag rivals Maxim, Stuff and FHM.

In the second half of 2002, the magazine’s newsstand sales were up by 5.3% to 212,601.

When Nelson, then GQ executive editor, was named top dog March 25, staffers were relieved; he was an insider who had been on the masthead for six years. But Beiser’s departure has some staff on edge — again.

Some said the hatchet job leads back to Conde Nast editorial director James Truman. “Truman had less sway with Art,” an insider said. “It’s hard to boss him around. You need somebody new. At the same time you’ve got to get rid of the No. 2.”

Others were slightly more sanguine. GQ “style guy” Glenn O’Brien said he thought Beiser’s exit was a “normal but very unfortunate part of this business.”

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