Staff at Elle publisher Hachette Filipacchi U.S. thought their spendthrift French owners might sell last summer. CEO Jack Kliger was out, the landscape bleak. They should have been so lucky.

The parent company Lagardère SCA instead dispatched Alain Lemarchand, a Frenchman with no U.S. publishing experience, to reassure staff the company wasn't for sale, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Instead, Lermarchand would apparently continue from close range the sort of resource depravation his bosses had once practiced from afar. The CEO has rewritten his own budget twice in six months, according to the Journal, laid off receptionists on four of six floors and is now talking companywide job cuts.

This is how Lermarchand articulated the company's new/old ethos to the WSJ: ""We have to make sure every dollar we spend is unavoidable."

It might not be fair that the CEO must take on the weighty baggage of Hachette U.S.'s mistreatment in years past; surely every magazine group is in the midst of layoffs and cost-cutting at the moment. But surely he can't expect his troops to take much inspiration from his grand plan: Yet another reorganization and an admonition to get beyond "print audiences." As Hachette staffers know all too well, digital reorgs don't get far on gruel.