Time Inc. is still trying to figure out how to best reorganize its business side, after it decided to have publishers sell by category as opposed to magazine title late last year.
That reorganization came in tandem with a corporate restructuring and a new chief executive officer in Rich Battista. But it has been a rough road, according to sources inside the company, and Wednesday’s latest iteration of Time Inc.’s restructuring is indicative of that.
In a company memo, Brad Elders, chief revenue officer, laid out yet another reorganization, which isn’t all that different from an earlier model it had when Battista held the role of executive vice president at the beginning of 2016.
Under that model, Battista and Evelyn Webster, who was let go last year, divvied up Time Inc.’s magazines, selling by magazine brand, not category. Since then, ad sales teams have been selling by categories, such as beauty, technology and pharmaceuticals.
Now, Time Inc. will adapt a hybrid model of both selling systems. Elders said Karen Kovacs and Greg Schumann will share the title of group president of sales, working across brands and categories. Time Inc. said it would be adding five new categories to the their oversight, namely entertainment, fashion, government/industry, home and travel.
As a result of that change, WWD has learned that 30 people have been let go, including Ron King, senior vice president of fashion, multicultural and shelter. King had been promoted last year, and he oversaw InStyle and StyleWatch, among others. In August, Kevin Martinez was brought in as vice president, group sales director of those two titles, and he reported to King. He was charged with more traditional ad selling, while King worked across categories.
Insiders told WWD that the duo had lost “millions” of ad sales dollars in the process. It could not be determined if that loss was a result of what some at the company called “disorganized” manner of selling, or if it was reflective of a tough market. Sources now wonder if Martinez’s job is on the line, but Time Inc., which confirmed King’s departure, said that Martinez is still at the company.
Returning to the new structure, Kovacs will oversee beauty, entertainment and fashion/retail on the category sales side and entertainment, style, multicultural, fashion and lifestyle on the brand sales side. Schumann will oversee the somewhat more stereotypically “manly” categories of autos, financial services , home, pharmaceuticals, tech/telecomm and travel on the category sales side and sports, news, finance and luxury on the brand sales side.
Andrew Reedman and Thu Phan Rodriguez, will report to Kovacs and Schumann, respectively, and be responsible for driving overall digital revenue for the portfolio. Susan Parkes, who had been in charge of brand public relations, has been elevated to senior vice president of advertising and brand marketing, reporting to Elders. Her group is charged with category client solutions, brand marketing, insights, activation, and corporate and trade marketing. Chief communications and human resources officer Greg Giangrande will now oversee brand public relations teams.
Elders said he will oversee advertising strategy, as well as various product sales teams.
“Change is never easy,” offered Elders, “but I am confident the changes we are making today will enhance our market-leading sales strategy and offerings, continue the acceleration of our digital advertising business, keep our brands at the core of everything we do, and, most importantly, collaboratively deliver the best solutions to our customers to drive business results on their behalf.”
Elders said there would be a sales and marketing meeting on Thursday to address the changes. Meanwhile, Time Inc. is rumored to be in the process of evaluating takeover bids and other proposals.