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Time Inc.'s Three Amigos Settle In

Could triumvirate remain indefinitely?
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Time Inc. may be searching for a new CEO, but for now, its current leadership seems to be settling in comfortably.

With the last of ousted CEO Jack Griffin’s big hires now gone, the company has been all but scrubbed of his brief legacy. The three men who were appointed to run the company post-Griffin—general counsel Maurice Edelson, editor-in-chief John Huey, and CFO Howard Averill—have taken on new duties and are holding daily 4 p.m. meetings. Edelson is overseeing strategy and has been meeting with Apple to talk about magazine subscriptions for the iPad. Huey continues to oversee all editorial operations. And as John Q. Griffin, president of the News Group, headed out the door, Averill reorganized the group, making its three publishers report to him.

So one scenario circulating is that the job will stay in the hands of the triumvirate, or go to one of its members. It’s not out of the question. First, Time Inc. isn’t big enough to have a material impact on Time Warner, so CEO Jeff Bewkes doesn’t risk a shareholder revolt by letting the status quo remain in place. Second, it will be difficult to fill the job from the outside after the last CEO was rejected after just five months will be a tall order. The three-man leadership committee is invested in keeping things as is.

The party line? It’s business as usual. Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes even joked at a recent awards ceremony that Time Inc. seems to be running “just fine” without a CEO.

Said one person familiar with Time Inc. politics: “There is clearly now no one in the company that could challenge [them], and no one from the outside who’s going to take it.”