December 15, 2016, issue of Fortune, featuring its Investor's Guide
|Frequency||Monthly (1930–1978; 2018–present)|
16 issues per year (2014–2017)
|First issue||February 1930|
|Company||Fortune Media Group Holdings |
|Based in||New York City, New York, U.S.|
Fortune is an American multinational business magazine headquartered in New York City, United States. It is published by Fortune Media Group Holdings, owned by Thai businessman Chatchaval Jiaravanon. The publication was founded by Henry Luce in 1929. The magazine competes with Forbes and Bloomberg Businessweek in the national business magazine category and distinguishes itself with long, in-depth feature articles. The magazine regularly publishes ranked lists, including the Fortune 500, a ranking of companies by revenue that it has published annually since 1955.
Fortune was founded by Time co-founder Henry Luce in 1929 as "the Ideal Super-Class Magazine", a "distinguished and de luxe" publication "vividly portraying, interpreting and recording the Industrial Civilization". Briton Hadden, Luce's business partner, was not enthusiastic about the idea – which Luce originally thought to title Power – but Luce went forward with it after Hadden's sudden death on February 27, 1929.
In late October 1929, the Wall Street Crash of 1929 occurred, marking the onset of the Great Depression. In a memo to the Time Inc. board in November 1929, Luce wrote: "We will not be over-optimistic. We will recognize that this business slump may last as long as an entire year." The publication made its official debut in February 1930. Its editor was Luce, managing editor Parker Lloyd-Smith, and art director Thomas Maitland Cleland. Single copies of the first issue cost US$1 ($15 in 2018). An urban legend says that Cleland mocked up the cover of the first issue with the $1 price because no one had yet decided how much to charge; the magazine was printed before anyone realized it, and when people saw it for sale, they thought that the magazine must really have worthwhile content. In fact, there were 30,000 subscribers who had already signed up to receive that initial 184-page issue. By 1937, the number of subscribers had grown to 460,000, and the magazine had turned half million dollars in annual profit.
At a time when business publications were little more than numbers and statistics printed in black and white, Fortune was an oversized 11"×14", using creamy heavy paper, and art on a cover printed by a special process. Fortune was also noted for its photography, featuring the work of Margaret Bourke-White, Ansel Adams, and others. Walker Evans served as its photography editor from 1945 to 1965.
During the Great Depression, the magazine developed a reputation for its social conscience, for Walker Evans and Margaret Bourke-White's color photographs, and for a team of writers including James Agee, Archibald MacLeish, John Kenneth Galbraith, and Alfred Kazin, hired specifically for their writing abilities. The magazine became an important leg of Luce's media empire; after the successful launch of Time in 1923 and Fortune in 1930, Luce went on to launch Life in 1936 and Sports Illustrated in 1954.
From its launch in 1930 to 1978, Fortune was published monthly. In January 1978, it began publishing biweekly. In October 2009, citing declining advertising revenue and circulation, Fortune began publishing every three weeks. Currently Fortune is published 14 times a year.
Marshall Loeb was named managing editor in 1986. During his tenure at Fortune, Loeb was credited with expanding the traditional focus on business and the economy with added graphs, charts, and tables, as well as the addition of articles on topics such as executive life and social issues connected to the world of business, including the effectiveness of public schools and on homelessness.
On November 9, 2018, it was announced that Meredith Corporation was selling Fortune to Thai billionaire Chatchaval Jiaravanon for $150 million. Jiaravanon is affiliated with the Thailand-based conglomerate Charoen Pokphand Group, which has holdings in agriculture, telecommunications, retail, pharmaceutical, and finance.
Fortune regularly publishes ranked lists. In the human resources field, for example, it publishes a list of the Best Companies to Work For. Lists include companies ranked in order of gross revenue and business profile, as well as business leaders:
- Fortune 500
- Fortune 1000
- Fortune Global 500
- Fortune India 500
- 40 Under 40
- Most Powerful Women
- 100 Best Companies to Work For
- World's Most Admired Companies
- 100 Fastest Growing Companies
- The Unicorn List
- Businessperson of the Year
- Change the World
- The World's 50 Greatest Leaders
- The Ledger 40 Under 40
- Future 50
- 100 Best Workplaces For Millennials
- 100 Best Workplaces For Women
- 50 Best Workplaces for New College Graduates
- Best Workplaces for Diversity
List of editors
There have been 17 top editors since Fortune was conceived in 1929. Following the elimination of the editor-in-chief role at Time Inc. in October 2013, the top editor's title was changed from "managing editor" to "editor" in 2014.
- Parker Lloyd-Smith (1929–1931)
- Ralph Ingersoll (1932–1935)
- Eric Hodgins (1935–1937)
- Russell Davenport (1937–1940)
- Richardson Wood (1940–1941)
- Ralph D. "Del" Paine, Jr. (1941–1953)
- Hedley Donovan (1953–1959)
- Duncan Norton-Taylor (1959–1965)
- Louis Banks (1965–1970)
- Robert Lubar (1970–1980)
- William S. Rukeyser (1980–1986)
- Marshall Loeb (1986–1994)
- Walter Kiechel III (1994–1995)
- John Huey (1995–2001)
- Richard "Rik" Kirkland (2001–2005)
- Eric Pooley (2005–2006)
- Andrew "Andy" Serwer (2006–2014)
- Alan Murray (2014–2017)
- Clifton Leaf (2017 to present)
- Fortune Battle of the Corporate Bands, an annual music competition for amateur company-sponsored bands
- List of United States magazines
- "Audience". Time Inc. Retrieved June 22, 2019.
- Carmody, Deirdre (May 2, 1994). "A Shaper of Magazines Retires". New York Times. Retrieved August 2, 2014.
- Fry, Erika (June 2, 2014). "What Happened to the First Fortune 500?". Fortune. Retrieved August 2, 2014.
- Fortune prospectus. By Henry Luce. Fortune, September 1929, Volume One, Number Zero.
- Henry Luce & His Time by Joseph Epstein, Commentary, Vol. 44, No. 5, November 1967.
- Okrent, Daniel (September 19, 2005). "How the World Really Works". Fortune.
- "Current Magazines". The New York Times. February 2, 1930.
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- "Meredith Corporation Announces Completion Of Time Inc. Acquisition And Reports Fiscal 2018 Second Quarter And First Half Results" (Press release). Meredith Corporation. January 31, 2018. Retrieved February 10, 2018.
- Hays, Kali (February 1, 2018). "Time Inc., Now Meredith and More Changes to Come". Women's Wear Daily. Retrieved February 10, 2018.
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- Kelly, Keith J. (November 9, 2018). "Thai business tycoon buys Fortune magazine for $150 million". Retrieved December 25, 2018.
- Kaufman, Leslie (October 31, 2013). "Reshuffling at Time Inc. to Set Table for Spinoff". The New York Times. Retrieved August 30, 2014.
- Kile, Daniel. "Alan Murray Named Editor of Fortune". Retrieved August 30, 2014.
- Huddleston, Jr., Tom. "Fortune Names a New Editor-in-Chief". Retrieved March 15, 2017.
- James S. Miller, "White-Collar Excavations: Fortune Magazine and the Invention of the Industrial Folk," American Periodicals, vol. 13 (2003), pp. 84–104. In JSTOR