Reaching Back In Time: Time Warner Pulls The Ripp-Cord And Names Former Executive CEO Of Magazine Spin

Time Warner (TWX) has found its man to helm its upcoming magazine spinoff, naming former executive Joseph Ripp as CEO of Time Inc. Mr. Ripp served various roles at Time Inc and Time Warner over a 20 year career there and is expected to join the company in September. He is currently CEO of OneSource Information Services and has held numerous other leadership positions since leaving Time Warner in 2004 . The vacancy opened up after current Time Inc CEO Laura Lang announced that she was not interested in following the company post-spin.

Time Warner’s CEO Jeff Bewkes certainly thinks they have found the right man:

Joe is a seasoned executive who has been immersed in the intersection of digital, advertising and publishing for the past decade. He is respected as a strategic leader who has delivered financial results throughout his career, and he also happens to have a thorough understanding of Time Inc.’s business. We have great confidence that Joe will maximize Time Inc.’s iconic brands, scale and industry-leading position to create value for its stockholders.”

Mr. Ripps’ former business partner, Philip Canfield of GTCR, noted in a recent interview that Mr. Ripp had an incredible ability ‘to recruit top talent’ and is ‘a great leader’. Based on that interview, it seems like recruiting is one of Mr. Ripp’s strengths so it will be interesting to see who he ends up surrounding himself when he starts at Time. The interview did raise some questions about the selection though as Mr. Ripp has spent the past 8 years focusing on B2B and not Time’s B2C model. Additionally, there are very few public company CEOs who have been investigated by the SEC for possible accounting fraud. In the end, Mr. Ripp settled those charges and admitted no wrongdoing, but it’s still an odd resume blip.

For his part, Mr. Ripp is obviously very excited about the company and plans to ‘reignite the spark of Time Inc,’  given that ‘millions of companies across the U.S. would die for the assets that Time Inc has.” Have to give him props for enthusiasm, but the fact is the industry is facing enormous headwinds and has changed a lot since he left. He will certainly have his work cut out for him.

Disclosure: Author is currently long shares of TWX