Time Inc. CEO Joe Ripp today is leaving the 34th floor of the Time and Life building, the cavernous executive offices that have long been home to the company’s top echelons of leadership—but have also become synonymous with remote management and plodding decision-making.
Ripp, who is remaking the publisher of titles like People, Time and Sports Illustrated as he prepares to spin it off from Time Warner later this year, has affected a folksy and approachable management style in the several months he's been on the job, stressing the need to streamline management to speed decision-making and reportedly deriding the 34th floor as the place “where ideas go to die.”
At a quarterly management meeting today, Ripp affirmed to appreciative nods that he planned to move at the end of the month, along with fellow occupants including chief content officer Norm Pearlstine, CFO Jeff Bairstow and PR chief Teri Everett, according to people who were at the meeting. The execs will relocate to the 2nd floor, which is currently home to conference rooms. The move is more than just symbolic; there will be cost savings as well.
The meeting came two days after Ripp announced the start of long-anticipated layoffs of close to 500 people and eliminated the three brand operating clusters, consolidating the company’s titles into a single group. Hard hit in the cutbacks was recently acquired American Express Publishing, which was expected because of overlap with existing Time Inc. staff. Big-name departures included AmEx head Ed Kelly and David Geithner, an evp who oversaw the Style & Entertainment Group. One known publisher at the company was let go, Karla Partilla of Cooking Light.
Ripp has seemed intent on getting top management focused on the work ahead. At Thursday’s meeting, he introduced the members of his executive team including evps Evelyn Webster and Todd Larsen, who will oversee the consolidated group.
There also were some financial and spinoff updates. Bonuses to eligible employees will be paid out at 150 percent, reflecting last year’s better-than-expected performance. (Full-year revenue declined 2.4 percent to $3.4 billion, on lower subscription and advertising revenue, parent Time Warner announced yesterday.)
The company will be traded on NYSE under the ticker symbol TIME, it was revealed.
The rest of the company will get an update in the weeks ahead, when the first in a series of town hall meetings are slated to take place.