There was a period, after a series of layoffs, reorganizations and magazine closings, when Time Inc. seemed to be hungering for new blood and inspiration.
So when Jack Griffin was brought aboard as CEO, the media world was eager to see how he’d take the lessons he’d learned, and the successes he’d had as president of Meredith National Media Group and apply them to a bigger stage. As the head of Des Moines, Iowa-based Meredith’s magazines, after all, he was widely praised for advancing a marketing services model meant to meet advertisers’ evolving demands—a model that buffered it in the ad recession and one that rivals were scrambling to adopt.
That Griffin was Time Inc.’s first CEO to come from outside the company seemed, at the time of his hiring, a mere footnote given the serious challenges facing the industry. But that fact would prove to be significant. When Griffin was ousted after just six months on the job, it became clear that his outsider status had been a major complication in his effort to push for rapid change.
Now, Time Inc. is being run temporarily by three of its old hands, and the expectation is that Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes’ pick for Griffin’s successor will be someone with a history with the company, such as former executive vice president Jack Haire, now CEO of Parade, or John Huey, the company’s editor in chief who’s part of the triumvirate currently running day-to-day operations.