Teaching Boys' Club How to Reach Women

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The betting on one of the magazine world's most popular parlor games -- divining Time Inc. Chairman-CEO Don Logan's replacement -- has gotten more complicated.

Since parent Time Warner merged with America Online, there's a whole new wealth of managerial hotshots available, and there's talk that the next leader of America's largest magazine company may -- gasp! -- hail from the halls of AOL rather than Time Inc.

Top contender
Maybe. More certain is that Ann Moore, People Magazine Group president, remains a top contender for the slot. Her track record is one of steadily broadening responsibilities and a gaggle of grand-slam launches such as Teen People and In Style.

And her ascension to the company's top ranks since she took the reins as People publisher in 1991 is all the more remarkable for the culture in which it took place. Time Inc., as Ms. Moore puts it, historically has been "a company of war correspondents," a uniquely male and testosterone-heavy -- if in an understated, Ivy League-esque, way -- place.

"It was a golfing place when I joined," says Ms. Moore, 50, who got her start at Sports Illustrated in '78 and later was the launch publisher of SI for Kids. "It's so different now." One reason, she jokes, is that Mr. Logan is -- famously -- a fisherman rather than a golfer.

But that culture had repercussions on the business end. In a more serious vein, Ms. Moore cites the company's "inability to understand you could make money marketing to women" when she took over People in '91. At that point, People's pages were all black-and-white -- how long ago it seems -- and, Ms. Moore recalls, "we were running hardly any beauty or fashion" ads.

That's changed to the point where People is Time Inc.'s top book for revenues and one of the world's top magazine brands, albeit not one immune to the current ad slowdown. Still, this year Teen People won a National Magazine Award. And this year, In Style is a welcome spot of good news, posting a 9.4% gain in ad pages through April.

Adds parenting group
In March, Time Inc. placed on Ms. Moore's plate the challenge of its Parenting Group -- whose flagship Parenting's ad pages are down 12.4% through April. She sees in the group potential synergies with the female readers across her portfolio. It's expected that Ms. Moore eventually will assume company responsibilities for the American Express Publishing Corp. luxury and lifestyle titles Time Inc. manages, though when asked about that prospect she says, "I do not know" it will happen.

As for the big job, though, Ms. Moore sounds like it's not exactly a foreign notion. "I've been here 20-some years, and I have a good track record!" she laughs. "I hope I'd be on the short list. I'd be disappointed if I wasn't!"

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