The surprise ouster of Jack Griffin as CEO of Time Inc. (NYSE: TWX) is also leading to his stepping down as chairman of the MPA, a post he took on last October. The MPA tells paidContent that a successor will be chosen soon. As the head of the MPA, Griffin’s role was to serve as a spokesman for magazines to the ad industry. Although still trying to process what went down, most media buyers and magazine industry observers don’t think that his departure and the surrounding chaos will hurt Time Inc. in the short term. But if it can’t find an acceptable replacement quickly, the long term could be more difficult.
It’s hard to say what effect Griffin had on Time Inc.’s sales during his short tenure, but given he was in the midst of putting his plan into place, it probably fairly negligible. During Q4, the time that Griffin effectively started, revenues declines had receded, which followed industry trends as the ad recovery offered magazine publishers a respite from the double digit decreases of the past few years. Specifically, Q4 subscription revenues fell 7 percent while ad sales dropped 1 percent.
So far, the general consensus is that Griffin’s defenestration will not have a direct effect on advertising at Time Inc. While the the power vacuum will probably be a distraction, it is the individual brand heads who are more involved in the day-to-day operations and marketer/agency relationships.
A number of media buyers expressed confidence in Paul Caine, who was moved up from heading Style & Entertainment to serving as Time Inc. chief revenue officer. “That’s where the credibility lies with advertisers, having the existing relationship with someone like Paul,” said one agency exec. “Who the CEO is doesn’t affect that, but obviously, if Time Inc. doesn’t stabilize the leadership role there, it could eventually have a negative effect. But not at the moment.”