Condé Nast president Robert A. Sauerberg Jr. will take over as CEO effective January 2016, with current chief exec Charles Townsend to become chairman of the publishing company.
As part of the shuffle at the top, S.I. Newhouse Jr. will assume the role of chairman emeritus.
Sauerberg, 54, joined the company in 2005 as executive VP. Previously he held senior leadership roles at Fairchild Fashion Media, including COO and CFO, and spent 18 years with the New York Times Co., eventually rising to CFO of its magazine group.
“Chuck Townsend has done an exceptional job as CEO, leading Condé Nast through a challenging period of change and transition,” the board said in a statement. “We are particularly grateful to Chuck for preparing a succession plan over many years. When Chuck came to us this summer with his request to step up to the chairman’s role, we knew that Bob Sauerberg was a change agent who was ready to lead the company’s growth agenda.”
Over the last five years, Condé Nast increased its digital audience from 17.2 million to 87.3 million unique monthly visitors, making it No. 22 on comScore’s ranking of the top 100 online properties. According to the company, it has more than doubled its digital revenue.
Sauerberg will remain as president while adding the title of CEO. Townsend will continue to work closely with Sauerberg and the Condé Nast board, while Sauerberg will assume responsibility for the company’s strategic and day-to-day operations, the company said.
“Audiences and advertisers have always come to us for the quality of our content… but we also want to make sure those audiences are able to access our brands on all possible platforms,” Sauerberg said in a statement. “It’s my job to make sure we remain true to our sense of quality and, at the same time, deliver it efficiently and beautifully, as only Condé Nast can.”
The company’s digital portfolio includes Condé Nast Entertainment, which comprises 19 channels spanning such magazine brands as Glamour, Wired, Vogue, the New Yorker and GQ, plus The Scene, a platform dedicated to premium digital video with 40 channels of programming from Condé Nast brands and partners. (Disclosure: Variety is a content partner for The Scene.)