Time Inc. Co-COO Nora McAniff Steps Down

After 25-Year Career, Ready for a Change From Magazine Publishing

By Published on .

NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Fresh off showing 289 employees the door last week, Time Inc. today said that one of its top executives is walking out of her own accord: Nora McAniff, co-chief operating officer, is leaving the company after 25 years, effective March 1.
Nora McAniff
Nora McAniff Credit: Joseph Moran

Her departure, not incidentally, makes her fellow co-chief operating officer, John Squires, look all the more solid as a candidate to eventually succeed Time Inc. Chairman-CEO Ann S. Moore. Mr. Squires could not immediately be reached this morning.

Surprise departure
News of Ms. McAniff's departure came as a surprise to many at Time Inc., where she was a popular figure with a track record of success overseeing magazines such as People, Real Simple and In Style. But she said she told Ms. Moore of her intentions way back in October.

"It is what it is," said Ms. McAniff. 48, flatly denying that her departure was anyone's idea but her own. "I wanted to do something completely different. I want to use a different part of my brain and feed my soul. I have no idea what I'll do next. So I figure I'll take some time and enjoy myself.

"I think I deserve it," she added.

After a hiatus of indeterminate length -- she and her husband plan on spending time at their home in Bridgehampton with dogs Budweiser and Merlot -- Ms. McAniff said she imagines she'll find a new occupation.

But it will not be magazine publishing. "I couldn't go back to that," she said.

Promoted in 2005
Ms. Moore promoted Ms. McAniff and Mr. Squires to their current posts in July 2005 as part of a business-side reshuffling, partly with the intention of streamlining decision-making at the top. Before that, Ms. McAniff had been exec VP, responsible for business and development duties at the Time Inc. Women's Group.

"Nora is the most natural-born leader I have ever worked with," Ms. Moore said in a staff memo this morning.

Now Mr. Squires becomes senior exec VP and will work along side the two executives being appointed exec VPs to assume Ms. McAniff's duties. They are Stephanie George, who continues as president of In Style, Real Simple, Essence and Parenting; and Sylvia Auton, who continues as CEO of Time Inc.'s IPC Media unit. Ms. George is taking on corporate sales and marketing along with the business sides of the People Group and Entertainment Weekly; Ms. Auton is adding responsibility for Time Inc.'s Southern Progress division and the business sides of All You and Life.

Mr. Squires, Ms. George and Ms. Auton will all report directly to Ms. Moore.

~ ~ ~
Read Ann Moore's Memo to Staff About Nora McAniff's Departure

To: Time Inc. Staff
From: Ann Moore

Re: Today's Announcement

I've known for quite a while that Nora was contemplating taking a break in her life at her 25th anniversary at Time Inc., so I've had time to adjust to the news. For the rest of you, this may come as a surprise today.

Nora is the most natural born leader I have ever worked with. I have studied her closely, trying to understand why her speeches get standing ovations, why her teams consistently outperform, and how she manages to find, mentor, and develop talent. There is one huge difference that I have observed over the years. Lots of us have her work ethic, her love of our business, her eye to pick raw talent; but few of us have her ability to give positive and negative feedback. Most people who have worked for Nora over the last two decades completely believe she has their best interests in mind. They have taken amazingly honest feedback from her in the spirit in which it was given: to develop the greatest collection of talent in our business, to outperform the competition, to build the best brands, to achieve personal bests, and to have a great time doing it. Nora built trust and used it as the powerful tool it is to get us all to dig deeper than we ever thought we could.

Because Nora has been thinking about making a career stop for several years really, I look at today's announcement thinking not that she is ending her career at Time Inc. too soon, but that we were really lucky to get her to stay an entire 25 years!

I have not the faintest idea of how we are going to give Nora a proper send off. It needs to be very unconventional. She will be around for the next month getting her divisions settled between Stephanie and Sylvia. (By the way, it's another tribute to Nora's leadership skills that we can transition to the experienced leadership she has working with her.) If you have any good ideas, email them to me, please.

A. M.
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