The business on...Jack Griffin, Unemployed publishing executive

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The Independent Online


As of yesterday, yes. Mr Griffin went to work as chief executive of Time Inc, the publishing business of Time Warner, but came home without a job. He got the chop.

Did he leave by mutual consent?

Actually, this isn't one of those occasions where a company sugars the pill when letting a big cheese go. Time Warner's chief executive, Jeff Bewkes, told staff Mr Griffin "did not mesh" with the company.

What does that mean?

Mr Griffin was a new boy at Time, hired six months ago. He's clearly ruffled some feathers there, with insiders briefing the press about "imperious behaviour".

Such as?

Well, each of Time's magazines used to decide for itself whether to run a masthead in each issue listing the names of senior management. Mr Griffin supposedly insisted every magazine start publishing one, with his name at the very top. The cost was apparently $5m (£3m).

Anything else?

One unnamed colleague told The New York Times Mr Griffin's religious references were inappropriate. Allegedly, he was slapped down by Mr Bewkes for describing Time Inc as the Vatican of magazine publishing.

So what does Mr Griffin say?

Nothing, but he has some supporters. Allies point out that Time has never before been run by an outsider – Mr Griffin succeeded Ann Moore, who had worked at the company for 30 years. Insult was added to injury when Mr Griffin brought in external consultants to advise him on the direction of the business.

So why did they appoint him?

Well, Time does look to be in need of a fresh approach. Circulation figures and ad sales have been slipping. Mr Griffin was picked up from rival publisher Meredith, where he was credited with diversifying the company.

A culture clash then?

So it seems. Hired to change things, Mr Griffin seems to have upset those who wanted a less radical approach.