In a stunning turn of events, Time Warner (NYSE: TWX) CEO Jeff Bewkes has fired Jack Griffin, who joined Time Inc. as the magazine publisher’s CEO in September. In a memo, included in full below, Bewkes told Time Inc. staff that “although Jack is an extremely accomplished executive, I concluded that his leadership style and approach did not mesh with Time Inc. and Time Warner.”
During Griffin’s five month tenure, he reorganized several units at Time. Inc., promoting a number of executives at its marketing and sales departments, restructuring its consumer marketing group, and splitting the company’s News and Sports group in two. He also established the post of chief digital officer and recruited Interactive Advertising Bureau CEO Randall Rothenberg to fill it.
The firing is a surprise since there were no public reports of disputes within Time Inc. Prior to joining Time Inc. in late September, Griffin was the highly-regarded president of Meredith’s national media group, where he was credited with expanding the company’s titles and pushing the publisher into advertising and marketing programs that weren’t necessarily tied to its print properties. He appeared to be taking a similar approach at Time Inc., setting up an integrated marketing unit just last month.
The full memo:
I regret to inform you that Jack Griffin is leaving his position as Chairman and CEO of Time Inc. Although Jack is an extremely accomplished executive, I concluded that his leadership style and approach did not mesh with Time Inc. and Time Warner.
Until a permanent successor is identified, Time Inc. will be led by an experienced interim management committee, reporting directly to me, composed of Howard Averill, Maurice Edelson and John Huey. You will be hearing from them within the next several days regarding their plans during this transitional period.
This company and its executive team have made many important advances in the last few years. Throughout, you have distinguished yourselves with professionalism and dedication to your craft, and as a result of that hard work the company’s momentum has been restored.
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.