Priscilla Painton’s Time Exit: What Happened?

1017painton.jpgSo 20-year-vet Priscilla Painton is out at Time and now the mag is down to, uhh, barely any high-ranking female employees. It’s all due to how Rick Stengel has been playing fast & loose with Time ever since he came on board.

Competing angles on the story:

1. Over at Gawker, Maggie Shnayerson coins the term “Time/life-er” for the magazine vet and got her hands on the memo as well. The gist: Mag veteran out, staff stunned, party line that Painton was looking to move on to new projects accepted.

2. The Post‘s Keith J. Kelly, meanwhile, reports on those pesky Byzantine office politics behind Painton’s exit:

Steve Koepp, the longtime deputy managing editor under Kelly, immediately decamped for a new gig at the Time Inc.-owned Fortune, clearing the deck for Stengel to appoint his own deputy. Koepp’s departure cleared the way for Painton to assume the deputy managing editor post, and in the ensuing transition months, she functioned as the acting deputy. However, when Stengel officially took the reins, Painton turned out to be one of three deputy editors, sharing power with Adi Ignatius and Michael Elliott. On the surface, the new triumvirate seemed to coexist in peace. But one Painton friend said that when she congratulated her on the new appointment, Painton just rolled her eyes in a dismissive fashion. “She had been the executive editor with one other person prior to the announcement and now she was the deputy editor sharing the job with two other people,” said the former colleague. “At the time, she regarded it as a demotion.”

(Image via Charlie Rose)