Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

[UPDATE] Time Inc. Layoffs: Publishers, Top Execs at Southern Progress and Cooking Light Out

Time Inc. is cutting something like 600 employees, but for the past few weeks it has been doing so in small steps: 10 here, 30 there. That will change today, reports the New York Post’s Keith Kelly, when up to 250 people at Time Warner’s (TWX) magazine unit are expected to get pink-slipped.

Kelly’s number for today “may be on the high side,” a person familiar with the matter counsels me. In any event, I expect to have more details later in the day. As always, I value your input, and I keep all correspondence anonymous:

In the meantime, an update on this week’s cuts: I’m told Time Europe editor William Green and senior editor James Graff were laid off via phone yesterday, and that more cuts in the London office are expected today. And four-year-old Cottage Living magazine has been shut down, which means that 38 out of 47 people who worked on that title are out of work; the remainder will be placed elsewhere in the group. Announced along with the job cuts today were the departures of executives from Cooking Light and Southern Progress. Chris Allen, Senior Vice President and Publisher of Cooking Light is resigning his position, as are Southern Progress execs Bruce Akin, Karla Hardy and Dick Gardner. Here are the memos:

November 18, 2008

To:Time Inc. Employees
From:Sylvia Auton
Re: Cottage Living Magazine

I regret to inform you that we will no longer be producing Cottage Living magazine. The November/December 2008 issue, on newsstands now, will be the magazine’s last. will also shutdown. However, the company will keep the brand alive in one of its other leading shelter titles and these plans will be finalized over the next few weeks.

Since its inception, Cottage Living attracted significant advertiser support and fostered a loyal following among readers. However, the economic downturn has particularly affected the shelter market and while the brand was genuinely loved by readers and advertisers alike, the economy inhibited its ability to grow and therefore, sadly, we had to make the decision to close it.

Cottage Living launched with a unique editorial mission. Its readership celebrated community and character over conformity, personality rather than perfection, and informality instead of pretension. The brand’s tagline: ‘life just right,’ showed how one could ‘live large,’ even luxuriously, in a lighter footprint.

Launched in September 2004 with a circulation of 500,000, the brand quickly grew to 650,000 in January/February 2005. One year later, Cottage Living increased its rate base to 900,000, and then to one million in January/February 2007. Cottage Living also produced many one-time special-interest publications including Cottage Christmas and Cottage Makeovers.

Cottage Living also received many industry accolades including AdWeek’s ‘2005 Startup of the Year’ and Advertising Age’s ‘2005 Launch Worth Watching.’ It was also named to AdWeek’s ‘Hot List’ 10 Under 50 list for two consecutive years: 2006 and 2007.

I want to thank the many dedicated and talented Cottage Living staffers. It was developed, edited and published by some of the best talent in the business and we can remain proud of its many achievements.


Subject: Staff Announcement
To:       Lifestyle Business Unit Employees
From:   Sylvia Auton and Steve Sachs
Re:       Staff Announcement  

With the departure of Bruce Akin, we’re pleased to announce that Bruce Larson will assume the role of Senior Vice President and the lead executive in charge of SPC operations for Time Inc. He will be responsible for the general management of all operations in the Birmingham office, Oxmoor House and Southern Living at HOME.

Bruce joined the company in 1991 as a manager of corporate reporting. Over the last 17 years he has been promoted numerous times and has held jobs in a variety of areas, from corporate accounting to IT to consumer marketing and production.

During his tenure with Southern Progress, Bruce has shown outstanding decision-making and leadership skills and has been a key player responsible for the strong financial growth the company has enjoyed over the years.

Please join us in congratulating Bruce on his new assignment.”

To:  Southern Progress Colleagues
From:  Bruce Larson

I regret to announce that two longtime, trusted Southern Progress colleagues, Karla Hardy and Dick Gardner, have decided to retire at the end of the year.

Karla has been a steady presence in our advertising production circles ever since she joined the company in 1977 as advertising traffic manager for Progressive Farmer. In 1985, she accepted a position as assistant to the editor and advertising/production coordinator for Southern Living Classics, which merged later that year with the newly acquired Southern Accents, where she eventually moved up to advertising production manager. When we launched Coastal Living, Karla began working on both titles, and in 2007 she began helping manage advertising production for Cottage Living as well. And let’s not forget her work on Entrée. With her incredible depth of knowledge of advertising production and her keen eye for detail, it’s no wonder that Karla is so highly regarded. She knows how to best position each ad for space efficiency and visibility, and she knows how to work with our sales staff and advertisers to ensure that everyone is happy with the outcome.

Dick began his Southern Progress career just nine months after Karla, back in 1978. He spent the first 13 years of his SPC career on the corporate side, managing building operations, office services, and purchasing, before moving to the magazine side of the business as financial manager for Southern Living and Southern Accents. In 1995, he was named general manager of Southern Accents. One short year later, he added responsibility for the soon-to-be-launched Coastal Living. In 2004, he was named vice president and general manager for Coastal Living alone, and in 2007 he took on the GM role for Cottage Living as well. Dick is well respected for his wisdom, leadership. and kindness, not to mention his astute business sense. He knows his titles—and his staff—inside and out and never fails to find the right solution to any challenge. Plus, he has a great sense of humor.

There have been several times over the years when both Dick and Karla have been counted on to work on more than one title—a sure sign of how highly they’re valued around here—and each did so while managing to maintain a positive, calm outlook. Please join me in thanking them for all they’ve done for us and letting them know how much they’ll be missed.”

Subject: Staff Announcement
To: Lifestyle Business Unit Employees
From:  Sylvia Auton
Re:  Staff Announcement

After careful consideration, Chris Allen, Senior Vice President and Publisher of Cooking Light, has decided to leave the company.

A 26-year veteran, Chris first joined Cooking Light in 1991 as eastern advertising sales director and quickly rose through the ranks. Chris’ leadership and expertise resulted in enormous successes for the Cooking Light brand: Under his direction, Cooking Light has grown to become the world’s largest epicurean and healthy lifestyle magazine.

During his tenure, Cooking Light was named to AdWeek’s Hot List four times, Advertising Age’s ‘A List,’ Capell’s Circulation Report’s prestigious ‘Triple Play Award’ three times, and ‘Most Notable Launch of the Past 20 Years’ awarded by Media Industry Newsletter and Samir Husni in 2005. Chris also presided over the launch of several groundbreaking marketing campaigns, including The Cooking Light Cruise, the Cooking Light Fit House, and Cooking Light Supper Clubs.

An avid cook and exercise enthusiast, Chris lived the Cooking Light brand. He’s also a rock star: The Cooking Light band, Way Past Close, has performed throughout New York City and Birmingham to clients and colleagues.

Earlier in his career, Chris spent eight years at PEOPLE rising from salesperson to New York divisional sales manager.

Please join me in thanking Chris for his many contributions to Southern Progress and Time Inc. and wishing him the very best.”

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There was a worry before I started this that I was going to burn every bridge I had. But I realize now that there are some bridges that are worth burning.

— Valleywag editor Sam Biddle