Laura Lang’s quiet start at Time Inc. has just come to an abrupt end. Two months into her tenure at the No. 1 U.S. publisher of Time and People, she announced that two longtime execs, Steve Sachs and Stephanie George, would be leaving the company. Lang also announced the hiring of Bain & Co. to help put the company back on a growth track.
Meanwhile, the three men that ran Time Inc. for most of 2011 after Jack Griffin's ouster seems to have cemented their place. Lang announced the creation of an office of the chief executive comprised of the troika’s members, corporate executives Howard Averill, Maurice Edelson and John Huey.
Chief revenue officer Paul Caine also comes out ahead as the fourth member of the chief executive's office. He also adds oversight for corporate marketing.
Lang’s first hires have focused on building up her corporate ranks. Her first big one was a new spokeswoman, Teri Everett, and yesterday she named a chief of staff, Regina Buckley. Buckley has been with the company 14 years, most recently as vp of finance at the Style & Entertainment Group.
Time Inc.-ers have been on pins and needles since Lang, who wasn’t well known in the publishing world when she was hired from Digitas, started in the job two months ago. Insiders said there was a growing frustration that she hadn’t articulated a vision yet.
Lang didn’t give that up in today’s announcement, but she said the company needed to "double down, place big bets." It remains to be seen what Bain & Co.'s mandate will be, but its hire echoed Griffin’s controversial use of outside consultants.
Sachs’ departure came as a surprise to some. As evp of consumer marketing and sales, he helped Time Inc. adapt its magazines for the iPad and e-readers. But his role has been limited, as Edelson has stepped up his involvement with Apple, and Time Inc. parent Time Warner has maintained final control over that relationship. Lang called Sachs’ departure a “lifestyle move” he’s contemplated for some time to relocate to Austin, Texas, where he will be closer to extended family.
George was a big part of InStyle's success and has strong ties to luxury advertisers, but her role had become diminished. She used to be in charge of corporate sales, but Griffin made her chief marketing officer in 2010, handing corporate sales to Caine.
Both seem to be leaving on good terms. Each is expected to stay on until June, and George is expected to continue to represent Time Inc. on the Association of Magazine Media and American Express publishing boards. Sachs is expected to help Lang pick his replacement.