NOT FOR NOW: Laura Lang was all set for a wide-ranging town hall at the Paley Center this Thursday before she pulled out two weeks ago — a day before Time Inc.’s talks with Meredith Corp. were revealed.
The talk, a breakfast-slash-powwow for media types, is part of the center’s ongoing series to get industry big shots to go on the record about their companies and the future of their businesses.
This story first appeared in the February 26, 2013 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The Time Inc. chief executive officer was the last holdout among the heads of the major publishing companies, having been preceded by her peers at Condé Nast and Hearst Corp. The Paley Center revealed on Jan. 5 that Lang would finally sit for the Q&A and proceeded to promote the talk over social media.
But a day before Time Inc.’s talks to form a new publicly traded company with Meredith made headlines, Time decided to kick the Paley talk down the calendar.
“For whatever reason, they needed to reschedule,” said Stephanie Kousoulas, events coordinator at the media center. Time told the center it had a scheduling conflict.
What happened exactly? Though Lang has privately met with editors and publishers to discuss the negotiations, Time has not publicly addressed the talks between the companies. Was Lang putting off questions about a deal that’s not yet finalized? Or was she reluctant to engage speculation that more or less casts her as a lame duck? According to reports, Meredith Corp. ceo Steve Lacy would be tasked with leading the merged company.
Nothing of the sort, said a Time spokeswoman. Though the talk had been inked on the calendar for over a month, Lang was “called out of town” on the day of the Paley talk and needed to reschedule.
April 1 is currently listed on the Paley Center’s Web site as the talk’s new date, but that is just a placeholder.
No hard feelings from the media center, though. Even if the last-minute reshuffling runs the risk that Lang won’t be ceo for much longer, a spokeswoman said it is still trying to find a new date for Lang to sit for an interview. The spokeswoman did not say if Lang would be invited to speak if she no longer holds her current title.