After casting a wide net in its search for a chief revenue officer, Time Inc. has narrowed the field to candidates including two current executives: Jed Hartman, group publisher of news and business, and Mark Ford, exec VP-president of the sports group, according to people familiar with the search.
Mr. Hartman oversees ad and event sales for Time and Time.com as well as Fortune and Money magazines and their website CNNMoney.com, which they share with corporate sibling CNN. Both titles plan to roll out separate websites in June as part of Time Inc.'s separation from parent company Time Warner.
Mr. Ford leads business development and operations for Sports Illustrated, the Sports Illustrated Golf Group and the SI Kids franchise.
A spokeswoman for Time Inc. declined to comment. A spokesman for Mr. Ford also declined comment. Mr. Hartman is in Davos this week and could not be immediately reached.
Time Inc., whose other magazine brands including People and InStyle, has been without a CRO since Paul Caine left the company last March to become CEO of radio syndicator Dial Global, now a Cumulous division called WestwoodOne. The search for a replacement didn't seem to move forward until Joe Ripp was installed as Time Inc.'s new CEO in September and renewed the effort.
In something of a twist, Mr. Caine, who spent 23 years with Time Inc., was at one point considered for a second tour of duty in the CRO position, according to people with knowledge of the process. Mr. Caine, who did not return a call from Ad Age on Thursday morning, left WestwoodOne in January, four months after Cumulus Media acquired the company.
Since renewing the CRO earch, Time Inc. has looked to a number of publishing executives at other magazines and national newspapers, including Conde Nast, where those contacted included Carolyn Kremins, senior-VP and general manager of Epicurious, according to people familiar with the search. Ms. Kremins was said to have declined the overture because she had only recently taken the Epicurious job.
The vacant post is not without its challenges. Revenue at Time Inc. slipped 2% to $818 million in the third quarter of 2013, undermined by a 4% drop in circulation revenue and 2% decline in ad revenue. Against that backdrop, the new CRO will be responsible for growing existing pockets of revenue and establishing new ones. But Time Inc. publishers do not report to the CRO. Instead, they report to the heads of one of three groups: style and entertainment, lifestyle and news and sports. Those group heads in turn report to Mr. Ripp. The CRO would oversee Time Inc.'s corporate sales department, which works across brands.