Nov 4, 2013


"If a group president disagrees with something in the magazine, it will bounce up to Norm. Editors will not, be reporting in to their publishers. Both will report to the respective group president." - Time Inc staffer
New Time Inc CEO Joe Ripp is rapidly putting his mark on the storied and troubled publisher in preparation for a possible spin off and IPO next year. His latest moves were to bring back long time Editor in Chief Norm Pearlstine in a new roll of Chief Content Officer, and change the Editorial reporting structure. Editors who once reported to what was basically the Chief Editorial Officer (Editor in Chief) at the company, will now report into group presidents who will, according to insiders have a say about what goes in the magazine. Some inside and outside the company are concerned that with plans to take the company public, shareholder value will trump that of Editorial value and independence. Some also fear Editors will be somewhat muzzled to avoid pissing off influential shareholders. Will this reporting structure work? It seems like Ripp is adding layers and layers creating an even bigger bureaucracy which has been a complaint by current and former staffers and executives of the company in the past. Pearlstine was brought back under the Chief Content Officer title, but he will only serve as a mediator on disputes between Editors and Group Presidents? Why would there be disputes? Editors should run their magazines independent of any input or influence by business side managers because after all, Time Inc hasn't suffered because of content, It suffered because of lack of digital strategy and a bloated executive suite in an environment increasingly demanding digital. With massive layoffs in the past and potentially more on the horizon as pressure builds to trim the fat to attract investors, its going to take more than a shuffle in management to whip this overweight company into shape. Ripp needs to bring in some serious talent to steer the company's digital offerings and strategy. There is currently  no one listed on the company's website who is charged with overseeing all things digital. There needs to be a central figure on the digital side reporting directly in to Ripp. So far, we are not impressed. Ripp who is recycled himself, seems to be recycling. Time Inc which has shunned change in the past, needs to get out of its own way and embrace it.

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