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(April 20, 2001) -- Jason Klein, CEO of Time Inc.'s Time4 Media unit (formerly Times Mirror Magazines), is leaving the company, has learned. An announcement is expected later today.

Mr. Klein, 40, told that he intended to take some time off.

The structure of Time's purchase of Time4's magazines -- which include bait-and-bullet giants like Field & Stream and Outdoor Life and the more genteel Golf -- meant that Mr. Klein went from being CEO of a relatively independent unit to one overseen by Sports Illustrated President Mike Klingensmith and the rest of AOL Time Warner management.

"I'm interested in a full CEO job," said Mr. Klein, who added that his current status was more akin to a "divisional president." Mr. Klein, who had been CEO since 1999, said that he felt Time4's integration with AOL Time Warner was essentially complete -- a move that included the shuttering of magazines Outdoor Explorer, Senior Golfer and Today's Homeowner -- and that his position would have been "much more executional."

It's expected his replacement -- Mark Ford, head of Time Inc.'s regional advertising unit Media Networks Inc. -- will not carry the title of CEO but that of president. Mr. Ford's appointment could be announced as early as today.

Mr. Klein said the arrangements for his leaving were finalized Wednesday, but he refused to discuss how long those talks had been going on. He said he expected to assist with the transition, but his last day at the company could be as early as April 27.

"I'm heading off on Thunder Road," he cracked, referring to the name of his new boat. -- Jon Fine

Copyright April 2001, Crain Communications Inc.

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