Rick Stengel, the managing editor of Time magazine, is planning to leave Time Inc. for the U.S. State Department. According to Capital New York and Politico, “sources familiar with the situation” have confirmed that Stengel has been “on a leave of absence from editing the magazine” since July, and is now planning to depart Time Inc.’s flagship title to become Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs. The move comes just before Time Inc. will spin off from parent Time Warner and less than two weeks since Joe Ripp replaced Laura Lang as CEO. A Time spokesperson would not confirm Stengel's imminent departure.
Stengel first joined Time in 1981, but has since taken two breaks to pursue roles in the political and public service realm. Between 1999 and 2000, he was a senior advisor and chief speechwriter for former New Jersey Sen. Bill Bradley, who, at the time, was campaigning for the Democratic presidential nomination. After returning to Time as online managing editor and later national editor, Stengel left again in 2004 to run the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia. He returned once more to the magazine in 2006 to become its managing editor.
Stengel's replacement as managing editor, sources told Capital and Politico, will likely be Time deputy managing editor Nancy Gibbs, who has worked at the magazine for nearly three decades. Gibbs would become the first female m.e. of Time in its 90-year history.