LOTS OF LIFESTYLE MOVES: Laura Lang has been at the helm of Time Inc. for two months and she’s ready to get to work — with the help of outside consultants. And along the way, several senior executives have decided to make what Time Inc. euphemistically calls “lifestyle moves.”
Lang has tapped Bain & Co. to spend a few months at the publishing company to gain an outside view on the market, consumer trends and to develop an overall strategy, according to a spokeswoman. She stressed this isn’t a cost-cutting move but, as one insider put it, when was the last time consultants advised hiring more employees?
This story first appeared in the March 9, 2012 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
“We need to find areas where we can double down, place big bets and get back on a revenue growth trajectory,” said Lang, in a memo to employees. “We can only accomplish this if we have a very clear assessment of the landscape in which we operate and a cohesive strategy.”
Time Inc. employees have heard similar sentiments before, albeit under different economic conditions and under a different chief executive officer. Back in 2007, McKinsey was hired to find ways to make the business “more efficient.”
Before Bain & Co. gets to work, a few longtime executives are set to exit — voluntarily or not. Steve Sachs, executive vice president, consumer marketing and sales, will leave in June to relocate to Austin, Tex. Lang described it as a “lifestyle move” that Sachs has contemplated for some time. Previously, Sachs was president of the Lifestyle Group, which includes Real Simple, Cooking Light, All You and Southern Living. He was part of Real Simple’s launch, rising to president of the brand. He will assist Lang in finding his successor.
Stephanie George, executive vice president and chief marketing officer, will also stay on until June to work with Lang on some special projects before moving to a “new chapter in her life.” George joined Time Inc. as president of InStyle, where she made it a global brand. Prior to Time Inc., George worked at Fairchild Publications, serving as president of Women’s Wear Daily Media Worldwide. Before that, she served as publisher of W for 10 years and presided over the launch of Jane.
It appears the editorial side of Time Inc.’s business is quiet for now. Longtime editor in chief John Huey’s contract has been renewed — Huey is part of Lang’s new “Office of the Chief Executive,” which will involve her core leadership team of Howard Averill, Maurice Edelson and Paul Caine, who will take on some of George’s responsibilities when she departs. The renewal of Huey’s contract prompted insiders to believe that perhaps Lang will wait until Bain & Co. hands over its findings before making any moves on the editorial side of the operation. So expect a few more “lifestyle moves.”