Glenda Bailey, the launch editor of British Marie Claire, has clinched one of the most sought-after magazine jobs in the US and been appointed editor-in-chief of Harper’s Bazaar.
The move will see Bailey compete head-to-head with another Brit, Anna Wintour, editor of US Vogue.
Bailey will take over from Kate Betts, who was axed two years after taking the helm following the death of the legendary editor Liz Tilberis. A protg of Wintour at Vogue, Betts, at 36, was the youngest editor of Bazaar.
Less than a year ago, Hearst Magazines insisted they were happy about the way she was running the magazine although it was to scotch rumours that Bonnie Fuller of Cond Nast’s Glamour was angling for the job.
Cathy Black, head of Hearst Magazines, is known to have been dissatisfied with Harper’s Bazaar’s news-stand performance in recent months. Sales last year dropped more than seven per cent as a result of increasing competition, not just from other women’s fashion magazines but also from newcomers such as Time Inc’s In Style and O, The Oprah Magazine. While Bailey is not regarded as a fashion journalist, Marie Claire has been one of the big successes in the women’s field in the US over the past 10 years.
Although the US edition is only four years old, circulation has climbed every year and is now close to a million. News-stand sales at the end of last year were up more than 12 per cent – a sharp contrast to the sales of Harper’s Bazaar. Its advertisement pages were up too by more than 6 per cent.
Earlier this year, Bailey was named Editor of the Year by Adweek magazine. She was in London when she was summoned back to take up her new position at Harper’s Bazaar.
Bailey, who left the UK to take over at the US edition of Marie Claire in 1996, is the latest of a growing number of British journalists and editors at the helm of top US glossies. They include Mandi Norwood, editor of Mademoiselle, Anna Wintour, editor of Vogue, Ed Needham, editor of FHM and Tina Brown, editor of Talk.
By Jeffrey Blyth in New York