Time Warner Hires Digitas CEO Laura Lang to Run Time Inc.

Jeff Bewkes | Time Warner
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2010 Pay: $26.3 million (+34.2% from 2009)
Time Warner stock change for fiscal year: +10.4%

The head of the digital ad firm is expected to continue a digital push by the magazine unit of the entertainment conglomerate led by CEO Jeffrey Bewkes.

NEW YORK - After a long search, Time Warner has chosen Laura Lang, who has been CEO of digital advertising powerhouse Digitas, as the new CEO of its Time Inc. magazine unit, the entertainment conglomerate said on Wednesday.

Lang, who has led Publicis-owned Digitas since 2008 after joining the firm in 1999, is expected to continue an aggressive digital push by the unit, which is the largest U.S. magazine publisher.

Her hire comes after Time Warner CEO Jeffrey Bewkes early this year fired Jack Griffin who had caused a culture clash as leader of the magazine division, according to company sources.

"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 back then in a memo that was unusually candid for the media industry.

Lang will assume leadership of Time Inc. from an interim management committee composed of Howard Averill, Maurice Edelson and John Huey, which guided the company over the last 10 months. Her bio on Digitas' Web site highlights that she has driven international growth and helped the company attract new clients.

“Laura’s leadership experience, brand management expertise, understanding of digital and marketing and strong relationships with the creative and advertising communities are a great fit for Time Inc.," said Bewkes. "She is the right person to lead the company as it aggressively evolves its businesses during a time of great change and opportunity in publishing.”

Said Lang: “I am thrilled to be joining the best journalists and publishing executives in the world at Time Inc. during such an exciting time for media and publishing. Time Inc’s premier brands and stellar reputation, along with Time Warner’s commitment to lead the digital transformation of all its businesses, will lead to great opportunities to deepen our connections with consumers.”

Email: Georg.Szalai@thr.com

Twitter: @georgszalai