Media Magnate Jann Wenner Puts His 22-Year-Old Son, Gus, In Charge

Gus Wenner is the 22-year old editor of RollingStone.comNo one is surprised when the boss helps his young son get a position at his office. But most execs wouldn't dare suggest that their 22-year old be put in the top slot at their firm, if only because of the ridicule that would surely follow. But most execs aren't Jann Wenner, the legendary founder and mercurial owner of Rolling Stone magazine. On Monday, brimming with paternal pride, he announced that his son, Gus Wenner, pictured above, was the new head of the magazine's website, RollingStone.com. (The announcement was first reported by New York gossip website, Gawker.com.)

Gus, slated to graduate this weekend from Brown University, appears to have entered the Ivy League school at the standard 18 years of age. In his new job, Gus will manage 15 to 20 staffers, overseeing "all aspects of the dot-com -- edit, advertising, social, the whole picture," Jann Wenner told Adweek, an industry magazine. As he further explained,

I didn't expect this. He was initially brought on to be an assistant to the chief digital officer [David Kang], and then David assigned him to this site redesign project. ... He's led that, and made substantial contributions, and really shown what a good leader he is and how deeply he understands it, and impressed me more than anyone."

Gus' ascent is all the more impressive given that Rolling Stone originally said the new web head would need "7+ years experience," according to a job posting on the Rolling Stone website. For Gus, that means that he should have been worrying about headlines and articles back in 2006, when he was probably too busy concerning himself with acne, braces and voice-cracking.

Not surprisingly, media outlets have had a field day with this appointment. Gus "followed the traditional route to a perch atop the media hierarchy: playing in an alt-country band in college," noted Gawker writer Hamilton Nolan. (The younger Wenner has been in a band with the daughter of Demi Moore and Bruce Willis -- Scout Willis.) Talking Points Memo's New York-based national affairs reporter, Hunter Walker, tweeted the move, calling it "really, really gross." Writing for the San Jose Mercury News, Tony Hicks described the appointment as the "most blatant case of nepotism since ... ever."

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The biggest names in the mainstream media do have a habit of keeping it in the family. The New York Times has been run by four generations of the Sulzberger family. And family members have regularly landed jobs on the editorial staff. News Corp. founder Rupert Murdoch appointed his son, James Murdoch, as his company's executive chairman back in 2007. Christina Huffington, daughter of Arianna Huffington, is a writer for The Huffington Post (which is owned by AOL). (After the News Corp. phone hacking scandal, James left the role last February to return to his job as the company's deputy chief operating officer.) But none of them started at the very top.

The history of Rolling Stone, it must be said, is a testament to what youth and inexperience can achieve. At just 20 years of age, Jann Wenner dropped out of University of California, Berkeley, in 1967 to found the rock and culture magazine. Since that time, Rolling Stone has won 14 National Magazine Awards for General Excellence. Wenner also owns US Weekly and Men's Journal.

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While Rolling Stone staffers haven't yet shared their feelings publicly on this appointment, Jann Wenner was as thrilled as any father whose son has a fancy job lined up right after college graduation. "I am very proud," he told his employees in his memo, which was obtained by Gawker. And in speaking to Adweek, he also championed his son's musical chops. He even praised Gus for turning him on to "new stuff like The Strokes," the New York indy rock band that released its first album, "Is This It," back in 2001.

Jann and Gus Wenner and Famous Family Nepotism


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andreiib

The American business culture at work again. Nepotism is ALWAYS a bad idea and NO family member should be working with another. At my last job the VP had his fiancée working as a manager under him. No one who valued their job could say the slightest thing against her and so she ran her entire department into the ground. I have seen it time and again. Hell, even if the person is competent you still stifle the free flow of ideas because no matter how hard you stress that they should 'treat them like you would treat anyone else' they KNOW that they can't.

May 29 2013 at 11:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
andreiib

Ahhh nepotism, the wealthy version of welfare.

May 29 2013 at 11:11 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to andreiib's comment
DADDY

what a superb comment!

May 30 2013 at 7:50 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
dbrockskk1

good thing he had a boy! what if he'd only had daughters??!

May 29 2013 at 9:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
sydneycmotley

Oh but entitlements are bad, except for rich people. I don't care how smart this young man is, that's a slap in the face to those who really work their butts off to get ahead.And the people there, who put in long hours should be furious! No parent should EVER install their kid in a position of authority and they didn't earn it. But, this just goes to show everyone that there are rules for us mortals and no rules for the uber wealthy.

May 29 2013 at 9:09 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Living Legend

Does he know what day it is?

May 29 2013 at 7:53 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
jbccarr

wow?

May 29 2013 at 6:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
biwatch69

Wenner and his wife separated in 1995, though Jane Wenner still remains a vice president of Wenner Media. She and Wenner have three sons, Alexander Jann, Theodore Simon, and Edward Augustus "Gus"]

Since 1995, Wenner's partner has been MATTHEW NYE, a fashion designer. Together, Wenner and Nye have three children, Noah and twins Jude & India Rose.

So Dad left Mom and replaced her with another Dad and a new family. Gus is doing pretty well considering his unorthodox homel life.

May 29 2013 at 5:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
r2grp1

Sounds like another pampered little snot bag. So much for the Rolling Stone web site.

May 29 2013 at 2:27 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
balticstein

this will end badly

May 29 2013 at 1:03 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Blessed

Hang the need for " experience " in this case; the boy grew up on Rolling Stone so who else WOULD know the ins and outs any better than Gus? Growing up, I'm sure he spent a few Saturdays stopping by the office on the way to a Family outing so Dad could drop off some paperwork, sure he played on a few carpets by Dad's desk and overheard countless business ideas born at the Family dinner table, just like any other child of a business person! Rolling Stone is in his blood and blood is the best " experience " one can have so go ahead, young Gus! With his Dad watching him like a hawk, I see no reason why not hiring from the outside would in any way bring this magazine's mission to an end! Anyone who thinks this kid just got a free ride is WRONG; Family is the hardest to work for-they require and expect nothing less than 110 % and I doubt his Dad would just pass the job to him if he weren't completely sure of Gus's abilities! Congrats kid!

May 29 2013 at 12:59 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply

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