TIME GOES OUTSIDE: It took Time Warner chief executive officer Jeffrey Bewkes nine months to find a replacement for short-lived Time Inc. ceo Jack Griffin and he found it Wednesday in a Boston-based digital marketing executive who has no experience in the magazine world.
Laura Lang will officially take over as ceo of Time Inc. in January. Lang has been the head of Digitas since 2008 and has worked there for 12 years. Before that, she was president at the Marketing Corporation of America and worked in product and brand management at Pfizer, Quaker Oats and Bristol-Myers Squibb.
This story first appeared in the December 1, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
“I am [pleased] to be joining the best journalists and publishing executives in the world at Time Inc. during such an exciting time for media and publishing,” said Lang in a statement.
“She is the right person to lead the company as it aggressively evolves its businesses during a time of great change and opportunity in publishing,” said Bewkes in the same statement.
Certainly her digital marketing experience will make her stand out from Hearst’s, Meredith’s and Condé Nast’s chief executives. In a 2010 interview with The Boston Globe, Lang was asked if she had a Twitter and Facebook account. “Linked In? Foursquare?” she responded. “Yes, yes, yes, yes.”
Time Inc. sources said there was relief that they finally had a leader but there were some questions about Lang’s lack of magazine experience. For months, media insiders have said that whoever got tapped for the Time Inc. job will have to take a quick look at People, the cash cow for the publisher that has had a rocky year. In the first half of the year, the magazine was down 11 percent on the newsstand, and through September it has had 10 issues that sold fewer than 1 million copies, once unheard of for the weekly (last year through September, it had two issues that sold fewer than 1 million copies).
Nevertheless, there seemed to be relief that Lang was someone with a digital marketing background and not a job employment record that included a stop with, say, cost-saving gurus McKinsey & Co.
Once she steps into the job in January, she will relieve chief financial officer Howard Averill, chief counsel Maurice Edelson and editor in chief John Huey, who have run the company since Griffin was fired in February.
Speaking of which…
“I know Laura Lang and have great respect for her,” Griffin told WWD on Wednesday. “I wish her every success in her new assignment.”