Hours after Time Warner (NYSE: TWX) posted mixed results for its publishing unit, Time Inc. is preparing to announce that Jack Griffin, who earlier this week said he would leave his post at Meredith Corp. (NYSE: MDP), will replace Ann Moore as CEO. The plan, which was first reported by the NYT’s David Carr, was unclear as to whether Moore, whose contract runs until the end of 2012, would step down immediately or some time down the road.
Griffin was president of the National Media Group at Des Moines, Iowa-based Meredith, which publishes Better Homes and Gardens, Parents and Family Circle. He was replaced by Tom Harty, who previously served as president of consumer magazines. Harty has been considered instrumental in guiding Meredith’s digital strategy, in terms of focusing on tablets and mobile devices.
In many ways, Griffin is natural choice to succeed Moore. Meredith has been at forefront of expanding the purview of publishers into the marketing and digital arenas as a way to balance the reduced ad revenues from print. Meredith recently completed its acquisition of mobile marketer The Hyperfactory, which is a move that many other publishers have been looking to emulate.
Meredith has also been a partner of Time Inc. in the magazine and newspaper digital storefront joint venture, Next Issue Media. The hope has rested that as consumers adopt tablet devices such as the iPad, publishers will be able to return, to some degree, to the old business model of exerting greater control over subscriptions and ad sales.
For her part, Moore is a well-respected magazine industry veteran. Last fall, she presided over significant staff cuts a year after completing a major reorg that restructured the magazine unit into three distinct groups, namely, News; Style & Entertainment, and Lifestyle.
Reps for Time Inc. and Meredith were not available for comment.