Time Inc. CEO Splits Up News & Sports Group

Change continues to sweep through Time Inc. under CEO Jack Griffin, who’s creating a new News Group under industry vet John Q. Griffin, signaling he wants to put Time magazine at the top of the priority list.
John Q. Griffin (no relation to Jack), who is retiring as evp and president of publishing at The National Geographic Society, will be evp of Time Inc. and president of the newly formed News Group. It’ll include the Fortune and Money brands as well as Time.
In creating the new structure, CEO Griffin split up the News & Sports Group, a creation of predecessor Ann Moore, to dedicate more focus to each of its brands and recognize each one’s different challenges and opportunities.
“There’s very little duplication of audience and advertiser and marketers,” he said. “It was a construct that I thought didn’t hang together.”
The new structure lets the company put a bigger focus on Time magazine, which belongs to a struggling category but is one the new CEO has expressed fondness for.
“Time magazine, both domestically and globally, is a meaningful profit contributor,” he said. “It’s an important business to us. But it’s much more than a business. It’s the founding cornerstone of the company. It makes a meaningful contribution to the conversation. This is not just about profit and loss. This is about making a meaningful contribution to the cornerstone of the company.”
“You’ll see lots of marketing of the Time franchise you haven’t seen for a while,” he continued. “You’ll see marketing, product enhancements, new digital adaptation … here and overseas. We’re going to make it the most powerful news franchise of America.”
Jack Griffin said John Q. Griffin, who’s known as John Q., had the deep international publishing experience needed for the job. John Q. served in various publishing roles at Hearst and Rodale before joining the society in 2001.
“I was determined to make this happen,” Jack Griffin said of hiring John Q. “He’s one of the most experienced executives in the business.”
Mark Ford, who had run the combined News & Sports Group, will now be in charge of a smaller Sports Group, comprising Sports Illustrated, Golf and their digital offshoots. But he’ll also get an evp title and report to the CEO. He’ll also oversee the SI partnership created earlier this year with corporate sibling Turner Broadcasting that turned digital sales of SI and Golf over to Turner.
Jack Griffin named Kim Kelleher publisher of Time, giving her a special shout-out as “an industry star.” Frank Wall, publisher of Money, succeeds her as publisher of Sports Illustrated. Current Time publisher Brendan Ripp replaces Wall at Money. Jed Hartman remains group publisher of Fortune and CNNMoney.
The overhaul is the latest and last organizational change under Griffin, who is capping his first 100 days as CEO since he was poached from Meredith Corp.
For the most part, his changes have involved moving internal people around rather than bringing in new people. People rainmaker Paul Caine was named chief revenue officer and Stephanie George, chief marketing officer, both new titles at the company. Prior to that, longtime Time Inc. editor Martha Nelson was elevated to editorial director.
John Q. is only his second major outside hire after Randall Rothenberg, who was named evp, chief digital officer from president and CEO of the Interactive Advertising Bureau.
The layoff-free changes have been somewhat of a Velvet Revolution for Time Inc. staffers who have become used to massive layoffs around the holidays. Griffin said he didn’t anticipate making cuts, but he stopped short of saying he would never do so.
“These organizational changes are complete,” he said. “As part of these organizational changes, there are no staff reductions. There have been lots of cost reductions. As I sit running the business today, I don’t see that. But as a responsible executive, I have to respond to changing conditions.”