After the severe bloodletting at Hachette's websites last month, one would expect remaining survivors at Elle.com, ElleGirl.com and Premiere.com might be grateful. Not so. In fact, there's been something of an uprising against digital vice president Todd Anderman (left), a clumsy transplant from Maxim Digital. As Women's Wear Daily is reporting, two of Anderman's top underlings have resigned: fashion director Joe Berean and Keith Pollock, executive editor of Elle.com and ElleGirl.com. Left unsaid? Pollock is the shopboy installed by Elle creative director Joe Zee, with whom he is said to be cozy, so his disgruntled exit from Anderman's employ will not soon be forgotten. Nor will the purported reason, a series of Anderman-instigated messes stretching back to an embarrassing incident involving the VP's laptop and a digital projector.
The story begins with Anderman's discharge of a group of Web employees in May. As reported previously, up to 20 people were assembled in a room and left to wait for 15 minutes until Anderman found time to fire them.
But the digital chief was hardly any better with his remaining staff later that day. This is the story we heard: Just before meeting with his "digital team" in the afternoon, Anderman engaged in some IM chat with his wife. When he hooked his notebook computer up to the digital projector, the IM window was still open, so his staff got to see the chat in which their boss complained to his spouse that he was "shellshocked" at their reaction to all his changes. "I'm trying to run a BIZ!" he supposedly said, his wife replying "along the 'Oh my poor bear' lines," said a source.
When he realized what was on the projector screen, Anderman rushed to quickly shut off his laptop.
For Pollock, the meeting was a prelude of more ham-handedness to come. Premiere.com was to be under his management, but Anderman yanked it, leaving Pollock with Elle.com and ElleGirl.com. Then someone else was promoted above Pollock, at which point one of Pollock's hires was let go. Premier.com was then put back in the cluster with Elle.com and ElleGirl.com, but Pollock still only had purview over the latter two. Then, as the story goes, Anderman did something having to do with "content-aggregation policy," which Pollock and Berean found distasteful.
Anderman was hired only this past January, and he's clearly trying to shake things up and put his stamp on Hachette's foundering websites. But the freshly-hired executive need allies if, as expected, Hachette chief Jack Kliger's contract is not renewed later this year. And at this point, it sounds like the digital dunce is mostly making enemies.