Time Warner names online ad exec to run magazines

AP News
Posted: Nov 30, 2011 2:08 PM
Time Warner names online ad exec to run magazines

Time Warner has hired online advertising executive Laura Lang to run its magazine division, ending a nine-month search for a new leader.

Like other magazine publishers, Time Inc. has been trying to generate more revenue from the Internet and mobile devices as print advertising brings in less money.

Wednesday's announcement fills a void created in February when Time Warner Inc. CEO Jeff Bewkes ousted Jack Griffin as the head of Time Inc. The division consists of many of the nation's largest magazines, including People, Sports Illustrated, Fortune and Time.

Lang will come on as CEO of Time Inc. in January. A management committee of three executives, including Time Inc. editor-in-chief John Huey, has been running the division since Griffin's departure.

Lang had been CEO of Digitas Inc. since 2008. Digitas is an online ad agency owned by Publicis Groupe SA.

In a statement, Bewkes described Lang as "the right person to lead the company as it aggressively evolves its businesses during a time of great change and opportunity in publishing."

Bewkes previously thought he found the right leader for Time Inc. last year when he brought in Griffin, formerly a top executive at magazine publisher Meredith Corp. But Griffin spent less than six months on the job before his falling out with Bewkes.

Griffin had arrived at Time Inc. just as the magazine industry was starting to pull out of a prolonged slump brought on by a steep downturn in advertising.

The ad decline contributed to a 20 percent drop in the publishing division's annual revenue, from $4.6 billion in 2008 to $3.7 billion in 2010, a slide that triggered layoffs and other cost-cutting moves.

The business has stabilized this year. Time Inc.'s revenue through the first nine months of 2011 totaled $2.6 billion, nearly unchanged from the same time last year.

The publishing division is just a small piece of media conglomerate Time Warner, which also owns the Warner Bros. movie studio, HBO and CNN. The overall company posted revenue of $20.8 billion this year through September.