Will Laura Lang Return to the Agency World?

Execs Say She Can Write Her Own Ticket -- in Pretty Much Any Field

By Published on .

As Laura Lang ends her 15-month stint as Time Inc. CEO amid the media giant's print spinoff, her next move is anyone's guess.

Laura Lang
Laura Lang

Despite her short tenure under Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes, and what some industry executives consider a failure to turn around the troubled magazine group, Ms. Lang still has the option to "go wherever she wants," noted a number of people who have known her over the years.

For starters, MediaLink CEO Michael Kassan said he would "absolutely" hire Ms. Lang, praising her "strengths in digital and strategy."

Ms. Lang did not respond to requests for comment.

A few agency executives were divided on whether she would ultimately go back to the agency world. "She wouldn't get [back] into our business," said one executive. He added that with her digital background and perspective, and added publishing experience, "I could see her wanting to go to Google or Facebook, or maybe an Amazon."

Ms. Lang joined Digitas in 1999 and in addition to running the shop, which she helped take public and later sell to Publicis Groupe, she had overseen Publicis' pure-play digital agencies. She also has a consumer-products background, having worked at Pfizer, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Quaker Oats.

But that wide-ranging background was likely not enough to turn around Time Inc. Some believe there was not much she could have done to improve things at the ailing magazine group. In the first half of last year, right after she came onboard, the publisher's ad revenue dropped 6% to $855 million from a year earlier, while subscription revenue fell 7% to $581 million.

Of her departure, MediaLink's Mr. Kassan said, "I'm not sure anyone short of a magician could have easily succeeded in the job."

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