Time Inc. CEO Jack Griffin Fired Amid Culture Clash
NEW YORK - Time Warner chairman and CEO Jeff Bewkes told staff at the media conglomerate's Time Inc. magazine unit Thursday that Jack Griffin, who had taken over the division only a few months ago, is leaving as his leadership style didn't mesh with the company.
"Although Jack is an extremely accomplished executive, I concluded that his leadership style and approach did not mesh with Time Inc. and Time Warner," Bewkes said in a memo that was unusually candid for the media industry.
The memo didn't detail the cultural and leadership issues that led to Griffin's firing after only a brief run. 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 gone 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.
TW didn't immediately say what the cost of the decision to push the publishing executive out would be. Time Inc. houses such magazine brands as Time, Sports Illustrated, People and Entertainment Weekly.
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.
"With our deep and talented pool of employees, I’m confident that during this transitional period Time Inc. will continue to grow and prosper, and that you will continue the brilliant work that has defined our company," Bewkes said.
Griffin was announced as chairman and CEO of Time Inc. last August and joined the company in late September after previously running the magazine division of Meredith, which owns such magazines as Better Homes and Gardens and Ladies Home Journal.