NEW YORK, United States — Roberta ‘Robbie’ Myers, editor-in-chief of the Hearst-owned American edition of Elle magazine since 2000, is stepping down from the role. The editor announced her upcoming departure in a memo to staff on Monday, according to The Cut.
"I want to spend the next seasons as available to my children as I can be, and so I take my leave of Elle now: a magazine, a website, a brand, and above all an idea of how a modern woman might move through the world with all of the passion and authority she deserves; an idea all of you have helped build into a powerhouse over these last 17 years," wrote Myers.
According to sources within Hearst, a successor has already been selected and will be announced Tuesday. The most likely choice is current Marie Claire creative director Nina Garcia, they report. The Cut's Stella Bugbee — who was approached to lead the Styles section at The New York Times earlier this year — is another name that will likely have been considered.
While Garcia would seem a left-field choice to some — Myers is a "words person" while Garcia is a fashion editor experienced in the visual side of magazine making — she is aligned with Hearst chief content officer Joanna Coles who brought her to Marie Claire in 2008. She is also embedded in popular culture, with a strong television presence thanks to her judging stint on Project Runway. Garcia's connection to Elle goes back over two decades: From 2000 to 2008, she served as the magazine's fashion director (departing after the title's longtime creative director Gilles Bensimon exited) but had various roles there since 1995. Bensimon's then-replacement, Joe Zee, is also said to have interviewed for Myers' job.
Garcia declined to comment.
And there could be more changes afoot at Hearst. According to sources, Harper's Bazaar editor-in-chief Glenda Bailey may transition to an over-arching role at Hearst after 16 years at the fashion title. A likely successor there is WSJ. Magazine editor-in-chief Kristina O'Neill, former executive editor at Harper's Bazaar, who has delivered record growth at the newspaper magazine supplement since 2012.
A request for comment from Hearst was not immediately returned.
Myers told staff in her memo that she will remain at Hearst in a consulting capacity, working with David Carey, president of Hearst Magazines, "bringing new ideas about where fashion, retail, and most importantly women, are heading in this transformational moment in history, and I’ll be speaking on behalf of those women, and Hearst, in the fall."
During her long tenure at Elle, Myers distinguished the magazine by bringing an intellectual rigor to everything it covered, from the way fashion informs to culture to politics and entertainment.
“We did practical things to shore up the business, but we also brought real reporting and writing to beauty, and we hired some great voices,” Myers told BoF in 2015. “Elle always had good writers, but we really tried to showcase people.”
“Elle redefined what a fashion magazine can be, by assuming that a cultured woman could be simultaneously captivated by what Raf is doing at Calvin Klein, and, say, an (exclusive) interview with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg,” wrote Myers in her recent note to staff.
Hearst acquired the American edition of Elle in 2011 when it bought Lagardère SCA's international magazine portfolio of 100 magazines, including Hachette Filipacchi Media US, which owned Elle, for almost $900 million. (The French edition of the publication remains in Lagardère’s hands.)
Elle isn’t the only major American magazine looking for a replacement for a longstanding editor: last week, Vanity Fair’s editor-in-chief Graydon Carter announced that he too will exit the Condé Nast title he has led for 25 years.
Update, September 12: Hearst confirmed Myers' departure and named Garcia as her successor. “Robbie has been an inspiring leader for 17 years, and her contributions are too numerous to count,” said Carey in a statement. “She conceived trademark editorial franchises, from ‘Women in Hollywood’ to ‘Women in Tech,’ and transformed them into events that gather the most creative, influential women of the moment. She made Elle an essential part of the global conversation, and we wish her the very best in her next endeavor.”