Time (NYSE: TWX) Inc.’s decision to form a standalone “branded solutions” unit appears to be the final piece of the puzzle that CEO Jack Griffin immediately began piecing together when he left his post at Meredith (NYSE: MDP) to start his new job over three months ago. The group is modeled on what Griffin did at Meredith and the recent spate of reorg news the past few weeks reflects what he was brought to Time Inc. to do: as magazine ad sales continue to struggle in general, these storied brands need to find new ways of driving revenue.
Separately among the various changes at Time Inc., Kirk McDonald, president of the publisher’s digital corporate sales, has decided to leave the company. The move comes less than a month after Time Inc. hired Interactive Advertising Bureau president and CEO Randall Rothenberg to become the company’s first digital head.
At Meredith, Griffin was often credited with helping steer the company towards creating marketing services that were more informally tied to its magazine brands, though didn’t necessarily involve direct ad placements over the past few years. Other publishers have adopted similar moves, especially as the advertising downturn deepened in 2008 and 2009. At the same time, publishers have begun to accept that the migration of readers and advertisers from print to the moment is still a relatively early moment, and as such, have been maneuvering to position themselves somewhere between the traditional role of the publisher and a marketing agency.
One of the first changes Griffin made when he arrived at Time Inc. was to begin to restructure the company’s consumer marketing unit. At the heart of the changes was the establishment of a Digital Marketing and Business Development group. That was followed by the creation of new roles for Time Inc.’s refocused sales and marketing teams, that had ad exec Stephanie George and Style & Entertainment head Paul Caine expanding their responsibilities.
Today’s announcement, in fact, was credited to Caine, who is now Time Inc.’s EVP and Chief Revenue Officer. His first act, with McDonald out, was to promote Leslie Picard, who was president of Time Inc. Corporate Sales & Marketing, to the post of president, Time Inc. Branded Solutions, with both the Corporate Sales & Marketing and digital corporate sales teams reporting to her.