Paul Caine Bolts Time Inc.

Chief revenue officer leaves in advance of company spin-off

Has the brain drain from Time Inc. begun? Paul Caine, Time Inc.’s chief revenue officer, is leaving Time Inc. to become CEO of audio content syndicator Dial Global as the publisher prepares to spin off from parent Time Warner and face its future as a publicly traded company.

Caine, 48, has been steadily promoted over his 23-year career at Time Inc., even during the past three years of constantly changing top leadership. In his most recent position of evp, chief revenue officer and group president of advertising, he was responsible for global ad revenue for all Time Inc.’s magazines, including category-leading titles People, Time and Sports Illustrated, and rolling out new ad products aimed at monetizing the company’s content in new ways. Earlier in his career, he was president and group publisher of the Style & Entertainment Group, encompassing People, InStyle and Entertainment Weekly.

Caine's name has been floated as a potential successor to CEO Laura Lang, who is leaving after the spin-off, but one school of thought was that Time Warner might look for someone with more rounded operational experience, possibly someone with a background running a public company. The search is being run by Time Warner and is said to be in the early stages.

Caine acknowledged that the timing of his departure was “precarious” but insisted that his decision to leave was unrelated to the pending spin-off. “This is a really good opportunity,” he said. “This clearly wasn’t something that happened in the past week or two. I was not looking to move on.”

As for Time Inc., Caine said, “Independence will put this company in an even stronger position. What independence allows you to do is be the sole focus of where the company is pointed.” That said, these are uneasy times for the company, with its future leadership in question and a model that's heavily reliant on print advertising, which is facing a long-term decline. The company has lost other senior talent in the past few months, with Lang having cut Time Inc.'s global workforce by about 500, or 6 percent, in January. Caine has many loyal lieutenants at Time Inc., and there's sure to be speculation that some of them, like Karen Kovacs of People and Karin Tracy, whom he named publisher of People and Entertainment Weekly, respectively, will follow him.

Caine starts his new job April 5. After his departure, his direct reports at Time Inc. will report to Lang, who was said to be dialing advertisers this morning to break the news and, presumably, reassure them that it’s business as usual at the publisher. In a staff note announcing Caine's exit, she said the year was off to a solid start at Time Inc. "Year-to-date through February, we hit our highest advertising share in over ten years and so far in Q1 we are up in ad pages for the first time since the second quarter of 2011," she wrote.