Payback Time

Obama Reportedly Considering Anna Wintour for Ambassadorship to UK or France

The president supposedly is weighing appointing the long-time Vogue editor U.S. ambassador to France or the U.K.—although the British-born fashion maven maintains she doesn't want either job.

Carl Court / Getty Images

Anna Wintour had a busy election season. As a bundler for the Obama campaign, she raised more than $500,000. She hosted splashy fundraisers around the country, including at the homes of Sarah Jessica Parker and Harvey Weinstein.

Now, all of that hard work might finally have a payoff. According to Bloomberg News, Obama is said to be considering Wintour to be the U.S. ambassador to either the U.K. or France. Two sources familiar with the matter told Bloomberg that Obama is seeking to reward his biggest fundraisers—but that Wintour may have competition from Matthew Barzun, the finance chairman of Obama's campaign, who wants the London job. Meanwhile, Marc Lasry, the managing partner and founder of Avenue Capital Managment, apparently "covets" the French posting.

According to Bloomberg, a Vogue spokesperson denies that Wintour is interested in the position (a line they've maintained for a while), explaining that "she's very happy with her current job."

As Wintour, who is 63 and was born in London, marks her 25th year as editor in chief of Vogue, many have speculated that she might retire with a plush ambassadorship in France or the U.K It would be fitting, too, after a long stint as the most powerful person in the fashion world.

The job may seem plum but, former British ambassadors say, it's also hard work. “People think, oh, here are these pinstriped fools tootling around with champagne in hand. Actually, it’s really important,” Christopher Meyer, British ambassador to the United States from 1997 to 2003, told Robin Givhan for a piece she wrote on Wintour's next step last September. “It’s part of the networking that’s required ... It’s damned hard work.”

It's hard to know what Wintour's thinking—or whether she'd take the job—but one friend warns against it. “I don’t think she should do anything but stay the editor of Vogue,” Harvey Weinstein told Givhan. An ambassadorship “is a lame-duck job. After four years, you’re out. Then what?”