Several Outsiders Said to Be Considered for Time Inc. CEO Job

Deadline nears with no clear candidate in sight

As Time Warner’s search for a CEO of its Time Inc. magazine division grinds on, new names of suspected candidates have surfaced. Given the list, it appears that the company still seems to be focused on bringing in an outsider.

One person, Adweek sources said, who has been considered is veteran media executive Wenda Millard, the co-owner, president, and CEO of MediaLink, a media advisory firm founded by Michael Kassan. Millard's multifaceted media career includes a brief stint as co-CEO of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia and several years at Yahoo, where she led ad sales. She’s been an outspoken industry voice in the online ad community, once serving as chairman of the Interactive Advertising Bureau. Reached by email, Millard declined to comment for the record.

Former Viacom CEO Tom Freston's name has also come up. But he's been running Bono’s ONE charitable campaign and is said to be enjoying traveling the world. Though the idea of Freston going back to the corporate suite, much less running a traditional media company, seems unlikely, one scenario under discussion had Time Warner giving him a bigger corporate job as a reward if he ran Time Inc. for a couple of years. Through a representative, Freston denied he was offered the Time Inc. job.

However, Time Warner chairman Jeff Bewkes might be looking for a mild-mannered successor after Time Inc.’s last CEO, Jack Griffin, clashed with senior management. In that case, Millard and Freston might not be seen as the ideal pick.

A third person said to have been considered is Richard Zannino, who could be appealing because he ran a prestigious media company. Zannino was chief executive of The Wall Street Journal parent Dow Jones & Co.; he was one of a string of executives who stepped down after News Corp. acquired Dow Jones in 2007. He’s now a managing director at CCMP Capital, a private equity firm. He didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Eileen Naughton’s name also continues to make the rounds. The Google executive and Time Inc. alum is seen as ideal because of her ties to the company and her digital know-how.

An insider source said none of the people whose names have come up were in serious contention, but the company seems to be sticking to its earlier commitment of finishing up its search this fall. Time Inc. has gone seven months without a CEO, although a three-man committee of John Huey, Howard Averill, and Maurice Edelson has been running the show.

Meanwhile, some insiders are on pins and needles about the search as they prepare for a quarterly management meeting Sept. 26. They’ve been assured no announcement is imminent, though.

Publish date: September 27, 2011 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT