Time Inc. Eyes Candidates for Chief Revenue Officer, Mulls Cost-Cutting Options

Masthead Pages, an Occasionally Touchy Subject at Time Inc., May Disappear

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You might think December would be the calm before the storm at Time Inc., which is, to say the least, expecting an eventful 2014. But CEO Joe Ripp is busy this month too.

Time Inc. CEO Joe Ripp has met at least two candidates for chief revenue officer
Time Inc. CEO Joe Ripp has met at least two candidates for chief revenue officer

The company, which publishes magazines including People and Sports Illustrated, is slated to spin off from parent Time Warner in the second quarter of next year.

Ahead of the separation, Time Inc. has renewed its search for a chief revenue officer, according to two people familiar with the search. There had been rumors that the position, which has been vacant since Paul Caine exited in March to become CEO at radio syndicator Dial Global, would not be filled. But Mr. Ripp has recently interviewed at least two people for the job, these people say, though no decision has been made.

A Time Inc. spokeswoman declined comment.

Employees throughout Time Inc. are bracing for the many changes expected in 2014, among them cost-cutting measures that will include layoffs, as Chief Content Officer Norm Pearlstine confirmed last week during a quarterly management meeting. The layoffs are expected "sooner rather than later," according to a Time Inc. executive.

But Mr. Ripp and his lieutenants -- Mr. Pearlstine and Chief Financial Officer Jeff Bairstow -- are also looking to trim costs, considering moves as relatively small as eliminating the magazines' masthead pages, the Time Inc. spokeswoman said, confirming an earlier report on JimRomenesko.com. Mastheads are the pages that list a magazines' staff. Like movie credits, readers usually pay them little mind.

Editors at the weeklies were somewhat perplexed by the considerations, telling Ad Age they already forego mastheads for an extra page of editorial at times. But the bulk of Time Inc.'s titles are monthlies, which typically run a masthead page in each issue.

Even if readers care little about mastheads, however, some editors do -- and messing with these pages can be fraught with danger for an executive.

Former CEO Jack Griffin found this out in 2011 when he ordered all editors to begin running mastheads, topped with his name -- breaking from a Time Inc. tradition of putting the company's editor-in-chief atop the page. The move rankled editors, and was remembered when Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes showed Mr. Griffin the door after just six months, saying "his leadership style and approach did not mesh with Time Inc. and Time Warner."

The current masthead considerations are a "Norm thing," a Time Inc. staffer said, referring to Mr. Pearlstine, a former Time Inc. editor-in-chief who returned to the company in October in the newly created role of chief content officer. His name is currently atop the mastheads, with Mr. Ripp's directly below it.

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