New York magazine editor Adam Moss to step down after 15 years

Adam Moss, the longtime editor-in-chief of New York magazine, will step down from his position after 15 years, it was announced on Tuesday.

“There are many reasons, but they pretty much boil down to this: editors ought to have term-limits,” Moss wrote in a note to staff, a copy of which was provided to CNN Business. “Experience is good, but after a while every institution needs a blood transfusion.”

Moss, who has served as the magazine’s top editor since 2004, said in his note that his last day will be March 31. Afterward, he will serve in an advisory role.

Moss said his successor will be announced soon by Pamela Wasserstein, New York Media’s chief executive.

“After that I suppose I will be a lame duck, but as proud a duck as ever waddled the earth,” Moss wrote to staff. “I’m here for a while yet, but allow me to take this moment to thank you all for your work, your friendship, your (principled) obstinacy, your brilliance. I know this is the right thing to do, but I am leaving with a big ache in my heart.”

Moss, 61, told The New York Times, which first reported his departure, that he was unsure what his future would bring, outside of a vacation.

“I’ve been going full throttle for 40 years; I want to see what my life is like with less ambition,” Moss told The Times. “I’m older than the staff. I’m older than the readers. I just want to do something new.”

News of Moss’ departure caught staffers by surprise, people familiar with the matter told CNN Business.

Moss developed five separate online sites for New York magazine, including the women’s issue site The Cut, pop culture site Vulture, Grub Street for food, Intelligencer for politics and the shopping site The Strategist. Under his leadership, the magazine won dozens of awards.

Most recently, in November, Moss oversaw the implementation of a paywall.

“Adam showed the world that a legacy print publisher could lead invention in digital products, that a brand with local origins could own national conversations, that a diversified premium media business can be constructed around an original editorial voice,” Wasserstein said in a statement. “He leaves at the top of his game (not a surprise: it’s the only way he operates). And he leaves the company in an enviable position–reaching the largest, most engaged audience in our history.”

That said, Moss’ exit comes during a turbulent time in media. In December, the editorial staff of New York magazine unionized with The NewsGuild of New York.

Moss’ name was floated as a possible replacement for Vanity Fair’s Graydon Carter, who stepped down as the top editor of that magazine at the end of 2017. That job ultimately went to Radhika Jones.