Time Warner Names Digitas CEO Laura Lang as CEO of Time Inc.

Digital Expertise but No Magazine Experience

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Laura Lang
Laura Lang

Time Warner is poised to name Digitas CEO Laura Lang as the next CEO of Time Inc., ending a nearly nine-month search for a chief executive at its publishing division but choosing an executive with no magazine experience.

The news was first reported by The Wall Street Journal and confirmed to Ad Age by people familiar with the move. Time Warner and Time Inc. spokespeople did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Ms. Lang's arrival at Time Inc. will cap a prolonged vacancy created when Time Warner fired the post's previous occupant, Jack Griffin, after less than five months on the job, citing a "leadership style and approach" that "did not mesh with Time Inc. and Time Warner ."

Where Mr. Griffin irritated some people at Time Inc. who later accused him of casting himself as the smartest person in every room, Ms. Lang has a more measured personality, and speaks very deliberately and diplomatically. She isn't regarded, however, as a hugely charismatic leader.

Ms. Lang's departure from Digitas means the loss of one of only female CEOs in the ad industry. She has wielded significant influence at the Publicis Groupe , the parent company of Digitas, since she took over as CEO in 2007.

It remains to be seen how Ms. Lang's lack of background in magazines will play at Time Inc. Mr. Griffin was a magazine veteran but set about changing things that Time Inc. employees didn't believe needed changing. Ms. Lang's digital expertise and contacts could prove to be a big plus as the publisher attempts to make the most of new media. But any missteps are likely to be viewed through a CV that doesn't include publishing.

Before Digitas, Ms. Lang was president of Marketing Corporation of America, providing consulting to marketers in pharmaceuticals, tech, entertainment and financial services. She previously worked at major marketers including Pfizer and Bristol Myers.

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