Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Time to Go: Time Warner Set to Swap Out Magazine Boss Ann Moore

A recurring question at Time Inc: Which executive at the publishing giant will take Ann Moore’s job when the CEO steps down?

Now we know: No one.

Time Warner (TWX) has gone outside the company to pluck Moore’s successor, recruiting Meredith Corp. (MDP) publishing boss Jack Griffin to take her place. Griffin left his post on Monday to ““pursue another opportunity,” which turns out to be running the world’s largest magazine company.

Moore has been at Time Inc. since 1978 and has been running the company since 2002. She has a contract that runs through next year, but she’s apparently going to leave earlier than that. The New York Times reports that a formal announcement regarding the move is scheduled for next week.

That gives Time Inc. employees a few days to gather up a dossier on Griffin, who isn’t well known in New York publishing circles. That’s either a virtue or a downside when running a company based in Iowa.

Press reports about the impending move suggest that Griffin is supposed to accelerate Time Inc.’s move into digital, and point to his track record of acquiring and integrating nontraditional assets like Hyperfactory, a mobile marketing company. But Meredith hasn’t been aggressive about moving onto the Web or onto platforms like Apple’s iPad, so far. Then again, few of its titles–Ladies’ Home Journal, Better Homes and Gardens, etc.–seem like natural digital plays.

And, as I noted yesterday, Time Inc.’s paper-and-ink business is still a formidable one: Last quarter the company generated $153 million in operating income on revenue of $919 million. Profits were up 50 percent, due to layoffs and other cost cuts Moore undertook in the past few years, but revenue was flat.

Now it will be up to Griffin to move the top line, too.

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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus