LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Graydon Carter, the editor of Conde Nast’s influential culture magazine Vanity Fair and a decades-long critic of President Donald Trump, will step down in December after 25 years at the helm, the publication said on Thursday.
Carter, 68, who has steered Vanity Fair through the shifting journalism landscape and expanded it onto a successful digital platform as well as print edition, will oversee its 2018 Hollywood issue, the publication said.
“I’ve loved every moment of my time here and I’ve pretty much accomplished everything I’ve ever wanted to do,” Carter said in a statement, adding that he was “now eager to try out this ‘third act’ thing.”
Carter’s feud with Trump dates back to his time as co-founder of Spy magazine. The satirical monthly, which spanned the 1980s and ‘90s, ridiculed the New York real estate magnate as a “short-fingered vulgarian.”
Trump, in turn, has not minced words in his criticism of Vanity Fair and Carter. In November 2015, Trump tweeted, “I have watched sloppy Graydon Carter fail and close Spy Magazine and now am watching him fail at @VanityFair Magazine. He is a total loser!”
Last December, after Trump won the White House, Vanity Fair published a scathing review of the Trump Grill restaurant and Trump’s New York Trump Tower. In return, Trump tweeted, “Has anyone looked at the really poor numbers of @VanityFair Magazine. Way down, big trouble, dead! Graydon Carter, no talent, will be out!”
Vanity Fair’s average monthly print circulation was 1.2 million for the six months ended June 2017, According to the Alliance for Audited Media.
In an interview with the New York Times published on Thursday, Carter said he wanted to “leave while the magazine is on top.”
“I want to leave while it’s in vibrant shape, both in the digital realm and the print realm,” he told the Times.
The Times said no replacement has been named yet for Carter, who earns a “seven-figure salary” at the magazine, but suggested that New York magazine’s editor-in-chief, Adam Moss, and Janice Min, former editor of The Hollywood Reporter, are potential candidates.
Carter was appointed editor of Vanity Fair in 1992, and turned the magazine’s focus to crime, culture and celebrities. He nurtured revered writers such as Christopher Hitchens and Dominick Dunne, humorists Fran Lebowitz and James Wolcott, and photography great Annie Leibovitz.
Some of the magazine’s biggest stories under Carter include a 2005 piece unmasking of former FBI official Mark Felt as “Deep Throat” in the Watergate scandal and a 2015 feature depicting Caitlyn Jenner after her gender transition.
One of Carter’s legacies as editor is the annual Vanity Fair post-Oscars party, the most exclusive gathering of A-list celebrities to mark the culmination of Hollywood’s awards season. Carter also oversees the magazine’s annual dinner party for the White House Correspondents’ Association in Washington, which draws the political elite.
Reporting by Piya Sinha-Roy; Editing by Jonathan Oatis