Dylan Jones, who has presided over men’s style bible GQ for 22 years, is to step down.
Jones, 61, said on Friday that the August edition will be his last as editor-in-chief of a magazine that has outlasted many other titles targeting well-heeled male readers.
The news on Jones’ Instagram post was flanked by congratulatory messages from celebrities Courtney Love and Dermot O’Leary as well as former UK Vogue editor Alexandra Shulman. “I have had such a brilliant time working for Condé Nast these last 22 years,” Jones wrote. “It has been one of the most rewarding professional adventures of my career and it has been one hell of a ride.”
Seven years ago Jones, who edited men’s monthly Arena in the 1990s, was credited with keeping GQ above water while others, such as Nuts, Maxim, Front and Arena closed down or, in the case of Loaded, went online only after circulation falls.
Jones has distanced himself from the “lads’ mag” boom of the 1990s, saying it “denigrated our culture”, but he continued to argue that a successful magazine needs “a libido, whether you are French Vogue or Vanity Fair”. He also survived criticism in 2008 for his book Cameron on Cameron, a fly-on-the-wall appreciation of the prospective Conservative prime minister, which contained flattering statements such as “I think you acquitted yourself very well on Jonathan Ross,” and “you seem more confident than you’ve ever been”.
Jones will join a growing list of Condé Nast editors to leave the publishing house recently as the company streamlines operations. According to the chief executive officer Roger Lynch, the aim is a stable of magazines that stay “digital-first and globally local with everything we do”. The exodus began last year when Angelica Cheung departed Vogue China after 15 years, Christiane Arp left Vogue Germany and Eugenia de la Torriente left Vogue Spain. Earlier this month both Vogue India editor Priya Tanna and Vogue Japan editor Mitsuko Watanabe left their publications.
Nicholas Coleridge, Condé Nast’s long-serving traditionalist chairman stepped down from the role at the end of 2019. Shulman left in 2017 after 25 years to be replaced by UK Vogue’s first black editor Edward Enninful, recently promoted to European editorial director with control of the British, French, Italian, German and Spanish editions of the magazine
This latest exit from GQ comes after the appointment of US Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour to the role of chief content officer in December, overseeing 25 editions of the magazine around the world. The 71-year-old had been rumoured to be considering leaving after her glossy track record was tarnished by a furore at Teen Vogue with the discovery of anti-Asian emails written in the past by its incoming editor, Alexi McCammond, whom Wintour was involved in hiring.
Further criticism followed the choice of lighting when US vice-president Kamala Harris appeared on the cover of US Vogue. The perception of Wintour as a “colonial dame” sharpened with the publication last year of former Vogue creative director André Leon Talley’s memoir The Chiffon Trenches. On the press tour promoting the book Talley said of Wintour: “I do not think she will ever let anything get in the way of her white privilege.” In June last year, Wintour apologised to black editors at US Vogue for not finding “enough ways to elevate and give space” to them.
Jones, the most recognisable British departure from Condé Nast for a while, is not expected to be the last. The company says it will “continue to bring together our European business” and is “entering into a collective consultation process to evolve some of our teams, roles and capabilities”.