Ousted Time Inc. CEO Defends Management Style

Jack Griffin says his exit after just five months had nothing to do with a culture clash or business results.

Jack Griffin is defending his management style after being ousted as Time Inc. CEO after just five months.

"I was recruited and hired by Time Warner to lead the business transformation of Time Inc., based on my clear record of success and results in the industry," Griffin said in his first public statement. "This continued at Time Inc., with the consistent and documented acclaim of Time Warner’s senior management. Every action I took over the past six months was made with that ultimate goal in mind.

"My exit was clearly not about management style or results," he added. "I leave behind a first rate team and wish them all the best of success."

Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes explained his decision via an employee memo released late Thursday.

"Although Jack is an extremely accomplished executive, I concluded that his leadership style and approach did not mesh with Time Inc. and Time Warner," he wrote.

The memo didn't detail the cultural and leadership issues that led to Griffin's firing.

Sources said management felt Griffin's strategic approach was aligned with TW's vision to continue pushing Time Inc. into the digital space, but Griffin's communication style did not go over well with people who have had longer careers at Time Inc. and TW. One source said the feeling was that communication from Griffin wasn't always consistent and clear, and his way of interacting with staff was seen as disruptive.

Amid concerns that Time Inc. could lose talent taken aback by their leader, Bewkes confronted Griffin on Thursday, a source said.

Until a permanent successor is found, Time Inc. will be led by an interim management committee, reporting directly to Bewkes, that is composed of Time Inc. executive vp and CFO Howard Averill, executive vp and general counsel Maurice Edelson and Time Inc. editor-in-chief John Huey.

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