Layoffs Sweep Through Highest Executive Levels

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Time Inc. on Tuesday slashed 105 employees from its rolls, including some of its highest-ranking, most veteran publishing executives.
Ann S. Moore, chairwoman-CEO, Time Inc., announced sweeping layoffs for top executives today.


audio bug Ann S. Moore's e-mail announcement to staff

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Presidents, exec VPs
Among those losing their jobs are Jack Haire, exec VP-corporate sales and marketing group; Richard Atkinson, exec VP-news and information group; Eileen Naughton, president, the Time group; David Kieselstein, president, the parenting group; Fred Poust, senior VP-sales and marketing, corporate sales, under Mr. Haire; and Steve Buerger, VP-sales and marketing, corporate sales.

“I feel really badly for a lot of very talented colleagues, but I understand some of the rationale behind it,” said Mr. Haire, who has worked at Time Inc. since 1978 and said he was surprised by today’s developments.

More aggressive action?
Richard Greenfield, an independent media analyst who follows Time Inc. parent Time Warner, called today’s developments very logical. “To scale down or to reduce your cost structure at a time when the revenue outlook is generally uncertain is the correct strategic move for Time Warner,” he said. “It also begs the question of whether they should be taking more aggressive structural action. Should the publishing business be separated?”

Billionaire financier Carl Icahn, who is aggressively lobbying to replace the Time Warner board, has made similar suggestions.

The move was part of another reorganization by Ann S. Moore, chairwoman-CEO, Time Inc., who last shuffled chairs in July, if not anywhere near so dramatically. Ms. Moore is under heavy pressure to keep Time Inc.’s earnings growing amid an uneven and hard-to-predict ad market.

In an internal staff memo today, Ms. Moore said Time Inc. will have another record year in 2005, with ad revenue up $100 million and total revenue up $225 million. “While we have challenges, we’re finishing a good year and there’s a lot to be proud of,” she said. An insider said Time Inc. will also, indeed, show earnings growth for the year.

The bloodletting was not entirely about costs; it also formed a smaller, more cohesive leadership group at the top that the company hopes will lead to more streamlined decision making.

Co-chief operating officers
Ms. Moore named Nora McAniff, exec VP-women, entertainment and luxury group, and John Squires, exec VP-sports and leisure group, to serve as co-chief operating officers, the first in the company’s history.

Ms. McAniff will continue to oversee Time Inc.’s women’s titles, including People, In Style, Real Simple, Essence and Parenting, and entertainment books like Entertainment Weekly and Life, as she has since the July reorganization. With today’s shake-up, she adds responsibility for corporate sales and marketing, Time Inc.’s Southern Progress Corp. and IPC Media, the U.K. publishing unit. She will be the Time Inc. executive most directly responsible for the company’s ad revenue, according to an upbeat release from Time Inc. today that did not mention any layoffs or senior departures.

“This is a hard day to be excited,” Ms. McAniff said, “but I’ll get there.” Some of that excitement will become more apparently in the new year, when Time Inc. will begin to speak up more in the marketplace about the power it brings, she said. “I think we’ve been quiet. We’re going to make ourselves heard.”

'Not just a magazine company'
“We’re not just a magazine company,” she added. “It’s part of what we do, but we’re also builders and providers of content.”

Mr. Squires will continue to handle his previous portfolio as well, adding new responsibility for Time magazine, the Fortune/Money group and consumer marketing. That makes him responsible for the magazines’ other revenue stream: circulation.

Robin Domeniconi, who had been president and publisher of Time Inc.’s runaway success Real Simple, was named to handle corporate sales and marketing, reporting to Ms. McAniff. Steve Sachs, VP-consumer marketing, was named to succeed Ms. Domeniconi at Real Simple.

And Andy Sareyan was removed from his post as president of Entertainment Weekly, to be succeeded by David Morris, who had been publisher of Sports Illustrated and was previously publisher at Entertainment Weekly.

Growth markets chief removed
Cathy O’Brien, who had overseen the growth markets group, was removed from that post. Growth market titles Teen People and People en Espanol are returning to oversight by People itself; All You, the third and last title in the growth group, will report to Life magazine.

Mr. Sareyan and Ms. O’Brien are talking to Time Inc. about potential new roles there. Mr. Haire, for his part, said he was offered other positions within the company but chose to leave to think about starting something on his own.

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