Fiona McIntosh, the award-winning editor of Emap fashion title Elle, is leaving to become consultant editor, spearheading new magazine launches for the company.
The move is likely to send shudders through rival publishers as Emap will waste no time in trying to replace her with a top fashion journalist.
McIntosh said: "I am delighted to be taking on this new challenge at Emap Elan having enjoyed every minute of my time at Elle."
It is thought her departure will surprise staff, who only gained a new deputy editor in September – Margi Conklin, former editor of Celebrity Looks. Conklin and Elle fashion director Iain R Webb will jointly edit the magazine under the overall direction of Emap Elan editor-in-chief Ian Birch.
Conklin will be a potential candidate for the editorship, along with Elle’s former deputy editor, Rachel Loos; Cosmopolitan editor Lorraine Candy; former Marie Claire deputy editor and Woman’s Journal editor Elsa McAlonan; Cosmopolitan deputy editor Helen Johnston; Glamour editor Jo Elvin; and Katie Grand, who quit as fashion director of The Face this week.
Some insiders believe Emap chiefs may look to the nationals for a candidate with a solid background in newspapers as well as fashion.
In the latest ABCs, Elle’s sales were up 2.3 per cent year-on-year at 224,410, despite fierce competition from new glossies such as In Style and Glamour.
Australian-born McIntosh has been editor of Elle since 1998. She began her career on the Melbourne Herald and later worked for Campaign, News International’s London bureau and the Daily Mirror. Four years later she was made editor of Company.
By Ruth Addicott