Mr. Kelly, who has been managing editor since January 2001, refused to comment on a report today in the New York Daily News that he would be leaving "as early as" June, but those close to him described him as "surprised" by the definitive tone of that report. Time Inc. Editor in Chief John Huey will lead the search for a successor, but it is expected Mr. Kelly will have a role in choosing candidates
Neither Mr. Kelly nor owner Time Inc. flatly refuted the report. "Jim Kelly is very much in charge of charting the current and future course of Time magazine," a company spokeswoman said. "Beyond that, we never comment on speculation regarding personnel matters." Mr. Huey did not immediately return a call seeking comment.
Circulation and ad pages
The magazine reported average paid circulation of 4 million for the last half of 2005, down from a 4.1 million average during the 12 months that ended June 30, 2003. Ad pages in Time fell 12.2% last year and dropped 4.6% during the first quarter of 2006, according to the Publishers Information Bureau, though its issue dated May 8 will post the most ad revenue and ad pages of any issue since naming Albert Einstein the Person of the Century in 1999.
It wouldn't be a shock if he did exit; Time magazine's editors have served anywhere from a couple years to nearly a decade in the post, and Mr. Kelly, the title's 15th managing editor, undoubtedly is closing in on the end of his tenure at Time. His predecessor, Walter Isaacson, held the job for four years.
Both well-liked and well-known within the industry, Mr. Kelly has presided over staff cuts, mandated from above, at the beginning of his time at the helm as well as in recent months. He was also a chief player in the decision to give reporter Matt Cooper's notes to Patrick Fitzgerald, the prosecutor investigating the leak of Valerie Plame's status as a covert CIA employee.