Jack Griffin's ouster last night from the top job at Time Inc., just five months after taking over as CEO, has quickly become a tale of two camps with two different takes on what happened -- and now Mr. Griffin himself has issued a statement on his short-lived tenure at Time Inc.
"I was recruited and hired by Time Warner to lead the business transformation of Time Inc., based on my clear record of success and results in the industry," Mr. Griffin said in a statement issued today, the day after he was ousted. "This continued at Time Inc., with the consistent and documented acclaim of Time Warner's senior management. Every action I took over the past six months was made with that ultimate goal in mind. My exit was clearly not about management style or results. I leave behind a first rate team and wish them all the best of success."
Mr. Griffin's departure was announced in a memo issued yesterday by Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes. "Although Jack is an extremely accomplished executive, I concluded that his leadership style and approach did not mesh with Time Inc. and Time Warner," he wrote. Current and former Time Inc. employees suggested Mr. Griffin had alienated some -- including some who were close to Mr. Bewkes.
"He had a style that some people would describe as demeaning," one Time Inc. employee told Ad Age yesterday. "It was getting in the way of business. People were starting to get the sense that Time Warner was getting a sense of it."
But those who have worked with Mr. Griffin in prior roles, including his time at Meredith where he ran the national media group, generally have had good things to say about him.
"I had only good experiences," said a Meredith publisher under Mr. Griffin, someone who was not in constant contact with him but was familiar with him and his reputation. The publisher noted that the right fit that Mr. Bewkes referenced can come down to a lot of individual personalities. "You know how some people can work for some people and not for others? I've had bosses I thought were phenomenal -- and then other people who worked for them hated them."