Time Inc. President Don Logan, 50, added the title of CEO last week, succeeding Reginald K. Brack Jr., who remains chairman. Mr. Brack, 56, had been CEO of the nation's largest publishing group since 1986.
The transition was carefully orchestrated to avoid the appearance that Mr. Brack was being pushed aside. A company release stressed the move to turn over the reins was initiated by Mr. Brack; other materials highlighted the company's expansion during his tenure as CEO.
The move also came weeks after Time Warner reported that earnings rose 19% at its publishing division in the second quarter as its core magazines all posted healthy ad increases.
But much of that growth can be attributed to changes made after Mr. Logan was tapped as president in June 1992. And a number of management missteps, notably the implementation in 1991 of a controversial corporate sales structure, may have dulled Mr. Brack's star.
"Reg's time had sort of come," said one Time Inc. executive. "... I think he was maybe a little bit more of an administrator than an inspirational leader."
Mr. Logan has won internal respect for his apolitical, laissez-faire management style.
"His biggest contribution was really de-politicizing the environment, coming in at the height of the clash and clamor over decentralization," said one Time Inc. publisher. "There's not a vestige of that left."
The corporate sales structure was heavily criticized for commoditizing the magazine ad sales business. The structure failed in its main goal of building market share, and confused advertisers while sparking infighting between publishers and corporate executives.
Mr. Logan spent his first year as president evaluating Time Inc.'s structure, and last September he and Mr. Brack unveiled a reorganization returning the focus to the individual magazines.
Since then, Mr. Logan has kept a lid on internal politics by forcing magazine presidents and publishers to focus on their own businesses and bottom lines.
Mr. Logan will report directly to Time Warner Chairman-CEO Gerald Levin. Mr. Brack, who also reports to Mr. Levin, will focus on long-range strategy and social issues.