Lisa Arbetter

StyleWatch editor in chief Lisa Arbetter will leave Time Inc. at the end of the month, the staff learned late this morning. Executive editor Bethany Heitman will take over on an interim basis. 

“In today’s evolving media landscape, being an editor fosters an entrepreneurial spirit. I have greatly enjoyed working with the StyleWatch team and expanding the brand into new territories, but the time has come for me to explore the idea of starting my own business,” Arbetter said in an announcement. “I feel confident leaving Bethany Heitman at the helm, with her digital savvy and deep knowledge of the StyleWatch consumer.”

Arbetter was named editor in chief of StyleWatch in 2015, moving over from InStyle, where she was spent six years as deputy editor. The celebrity and shopping-focused title launched in 2007 as People StyleWatch, a hybrid of People and InStyle that seemed like Time Inc.’s gambit to compete with tabloid glossies like Us Weekly and In Touch. Over time, the publication dropped the “People” from its name and shifted its focus somewhat from celebrity to street style. During her time at StyleWatch, Arbetter oversaw the launch of The Outfit, a platform of StyleWatch editors, fashion bloggers and social media influencers — a bid to appeal to a young, digitally savvy demographic.  

As part of a corporate reorganization last year, the title became part of The InStyle Collection, Time Inc.’s fashion and beauty properties that included InStyle, StyleWatch and xoJane. The group was overseen by editorial director Ariel Foxman, who left the company in July. Laura Brown succeeded Foxman as InStyle editor in chief at the end of the summer, prompting speculation about the future of the fashion titles.

Considering the steady stream of changes at Time Inc., not least of which are the rumors that the company is up for sale, there’s a lot of speculation about the future of the company in general.