Time Inc. has made a big digital hire as it prepares for its spinoff later this year, naming The Atlantic president M. Scott Havens as svp of digital for cash cow People, Time, Sports Illustrated and business brands. The appointment follows some upheaval at the publisher, which recently saw other digital talent including Mark Golin and Fran Hauser heading for the exits.
Havens is the latest big name to leave Atlantic Media following president Justin Smith’s departure for Bloomberg LP last year. Earlier this year, Elizabeth Baker Keffer, who ran events there; and spokeswoman Natalie Raabe left. In a memo, Atlantic Media CEO and chairman David Bradley called Havens a “remarkable media talent and deeply fine man” who leaves the publication in its best financial shape in 157 years. Bradley said he was looking for Havens’ replacement.
Havens has been credited, along with his former boss Smith, with The Atlantic's aggressive focus on digital strategies, which led to his promotion to president in 2012. The Time Inc. gig gives him a much bigger platform, but one that's been considered slower-moving on the digital front.
In a phone interview, Havens said he expected to have plenty of leeway to bring about change at the publishing giant. "They wouldn't be hiring me if they didn't want to make some radical changes to their digital platform," he said. "They're willing to break some eggs to get it done."
Havens, however, gave Time Inc. props for moves it's already made in digital. "I think Time Inc. gets a harsher rap than they deserve. They have some terrific digital success. Look at Time. It’s a huge site. My goal is to just amplify and enhance what they’ve already done." Specifically for him, that means building on Time Inc.'s mobile and video offerings and leveraging its audience via automated ad buying.
The announcement was made by Todd Larsen, evp of Time Inc. Here’s the memo from Larsen:
I'm pleased to announce that M. Scott Havens is joining Time Inc. as Senior Vice President, Digital.
In this new role, Scott will be responsible for managing the operations and driving the strategic development of our digital products at PEOPLE, TIME, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, Entertainment Weekly, Fortune, CNNMoney, Money, Golf, SI for Kids and TIME for Kids.
Scott is the ideal executive for this role. He began his career as a digital entrepreneur launching a number of businesses before moving into senior roles in digital and traditional media companies. He’s been at the forefront of developing multi-platform content experiences. Most recently, Scott was President of The Atlantic since 2012, where he oversaw teams across print, digital and live events. He joined the organization in 2009 as Vice President of digital strategy and operations for the parent company Atlantic Media and played a key role in their digital transformation, culminating in record-high revenue, profit and digital traffic in 2013.
Previously, he held important roles at Condé Nast, where he helped launch Portfolio.com, and at Yahoo! Finance, where he managed the business development team. Scott’s understanding of the digital publishing marketplace plus his creative drive and fresh ideas are a perfect combination for what Time Inc. needs as we continue to build out our digital product offerings.
Scott joins us at an exciting time for the company and our titles. Just this month, our new Chief Technology Officer Colin Bodell joined us from Amazon, and in the past few days we’ve forged a new partnership with Google to sell programmatic advertising and announced our equity-share investment in the live-streaming video network 120 Sports. In the coming weeks and months, we will unveil redesigned websites for TIME, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, Fortune and Money, and PEOPLE and Entertainment Weekly will be launching some exciting new digital initiatives. The pace of our video growth proceeds unabated.
Scott’s start date will be March 31, and he will report to me. His direct reports will include the general managers for each of our sites: Liz White at PEOPLE and Entertainment Weekly, Jim DeLorenzo at SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, Howard Manus at Fortune & Money and Craig Ettinger at TIME, as well as head of product Daniel Bernard and others. Scott will work closely with his counterpart, Kevin Heery, Time Inc. Senior Vice President, Digital, who oversees the brands under Evelyn Webster, to seamlessly coordinate our digital strategies across Time Inc.
Scott’s role is a big one. Digital is a critical growth area moving forward, and we have ambitions to significantly grow our scale. Scott’s job will be to drive this aggressive expansion.
Please join me in warmly welcoming Scott to Time Inc.