Yet another shakeup at the top of Time Inc.
December 14, 2016
From now until some sort of decision is made on Time Inc. – whether the company is sold, auctioned off for parts, or keeps trudging along as it has been since being spun off of Time Warner – every move the magazine publisher makes will be heavily scrutinized and perhaps over-analyzed.
So little wonder Tuesday morning’s big Time Inc. personnel move was sparking breathless headlines across the web.
Mark Ford, the chief revenue officer who has worked at Time Inc. for 32 years, is stepping down.
He’ll be replaced by Brad Elders, president of digital sales, a very important position under the new Time Inc. management, which is hoping to improve digital sales in order to make up for flagging print ones.
Ford’s departure was accompanied by another one – president and chief operating officer for sales and marketing Mark Ellis is also leaving.
Shifting to digital
The moves are seen as a push by new chief executive officer Rich Battista, who took over earlier this year, to become a digital-first company. Clearly the print-first model isn’t working, but the major downside to that plan is digital doesn’t generate anywhere near the ad revenue that print does.
Print still accounts for two thirds of ad revenue.
Of course, Time Inc. has attracted so much interest from suitors, from Meredith to Hearst to a group fronted by Edgar Bronfman Jr., that it may not have to come up with a long-term strategy and could instead allow itself to become part of another company.
It may well be the way it chooses to go.
The company has hired Morgan Stanley and Bank of America as financial advisers, according to The Wall Street Journal, and that sent its shares on an upward curve, suggesting Wall Street thinks an acquisition is a smart idea.
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