Will be closely watched
Mr. Stengel, 51, has been at the Center, which is dedicated to education on the U.S. Constitution, since March 2004. He becomes the magazine's 16th managing editor and will be closely watched for moves to reenergize a magazine that, while still iconic and widely read, has to stave off challenges from increasing numbers of 24-hour, more sharply focused news outlets.
"Time has a great mission: to explain the world to people," Mr. Stengel said in a statement. "We've been doing that for more than 80 years and that job is as important now as any time in our history. I am honored to lead Time into the future, in whatever form we deliver it, and I believe we can take our mission to still greater heights."
Before joining the Constitution Center, Mr. Stengel had been an editor, a senior writer and an essayist at Time, covering the 1988 and 1998 presidential campaigns. He has also written for The New Yorker, The New Republic and The New York Times.
In 1999, Mr. Stengel served as senior adviser and chief speechwriter for presidential candidate Bill Bradley. He is author of "January Sun: One Day, Three Lives, a South African Town" and "You're too Kind: A Brief History of Flattery" and helped write the Nelson Mandela autobiography "Long Walk to Freedom."
Mr. Kelly, Time's 15th managing editor, was named to the newly created post of Time Inc. managing editor yesterday; he assumes his new role on June 15.
Seeds of change
The seeds of change were sewn last November, when Time Inc. editor in chief John Huey told Mr. Kelly that Time Inc. needed someone like the Time managing editor for its own. Mr. Kelly handed Mr. Huey a list of people he considered worthy successors from inside the company, though it is now clear Mr. Huey had other ideas. (See full memo from Mr. Huey announcing appointment below.)
Media watchers had amassed their own sweeping list of contenders for Mr. Kelly's job, including Time magazine executive editor Priscilla Painton, Time alumni Kurt Anderson, New York editor in chief Adam Moss, Slate editor in chief Jacob Weisberg, Slate founder Michael Kinsley and Fortune managing editor Eric Pooley.
According to one insider, Mr. Kelly teased his staff on Tuesday with word that his successor would come from outside Time magazine and "is not a jerk."
In keeping with tradition, Mr. Kelly this morning presented Mr. Stengel with a pewter pencil cup that once belonged to Time founding editor Henry Luce.
Time Inc. Internal Memo Announcing Richard Stengel's Appointment as Time's Managing Editor
To: Time Inc. Staff
From: John Huey
Re: Staff Announcement
Searching for a new Managing Editor of Time is a daunting task, especially when trying to find a successor to one as able and successful as Jim Kelly has been.
Well, the search has ended, and I am pleased to announce the appointment of Richard Stengel, President and CEO of the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, as the new Managing Editor of Time, succeeding Jim.
Rick, of course, is familiar to most everyone on the Time staff, of which he has been a part on three different occasions. He was first hired in 1981, and has served as Nation Editor, Culture Editor, and Editor of Time.com. As a senior writer, he covered both the 1988 and 1996 presidential campaigns. Rick has also written for The New Yorker, The New Republic, and The New York Times.
I find him an especially exciting new M.E. because he has both the outsider's perspective and the insider's appreciation and knowledge of who and what makes Time tick. His intellectual depth and breadth are long established, as are his leadership qualities and competitive spirit. But in his stint as head of the Constitution Center he has gained a new appreciation for the skills and strategy required to harness the energy of an organization like Time and drive it into the future.
His resume is rich and varied. A 1977 magna cum laude graduate from Princeton University, Rick played on its 1975 NIT winning basketball team. As a Rhodes Scholar he studied English and history at Christ Church College, Oxford. The author of several books, he collaborated with Nelson Mandela on the South African's bestselling autobiography "Long Walk to Freedom", and also helped produce the 1996 Oscar nominated documentary, "Mandela." And he has been a frequent television commentator on CNN and MSNBC.
Rick once taught a course at Princeton called "Politics and the Press" then moved into the political arena himself as senior advisor and chief speechwriter for presidential candidate Bill Bradley.
Rick is a true multi-media editor who is approaching this daunting new assignment with tons of ideas, energy, and just the right amount of confidence. It should be an exciting period for Time, which is in the middle of a great run right now, having just won two national magazine awards, one for general excellence, and one for its 52-page special report on Hurricane Katrina.
A native New Yorker, Rick is married to Mary Pfaff, who is from South Africa, and they have two young sons.
Incidentally, Rick and Jim Kelly are the oldest of friends. They first met in John McPhee's writing class at Princeton.
Let's all welcome Rick back to Time Inc. once again and wish him the best in his new job.