Updating the New Career of the Former Time Inc. President, This Week, Jack Griffin Will Be Speaking In Chile And In California


Here is a man who did not put his head in the sand after the surprising and abrupt February 2011 end to his five-month tenure as Time Inc. president. Last summer, Griffin started the New York- and Boston-based Empirical Media Advisors to give what he calls “evidenced-based ideas and advice” to media companies on the transition from “traditional” to digital, and business has been so good in EMA’s working with six clients (Griffin won’t disclose) plus a strategic relationship with global business-advisory firm AlixPartners that he will be announcing the hire of a lieutenant “within the next 30 to 45 days. He is well-known within the magazine community.”

How well Griffin’s business gospel has been received was evidenced in his keynoting last November’s Audit Bureau of Circulations meeting in San Francisco, where point by point he gave examples of media companies– Wall Street Journal, New York Times, The Economist, Financial Times, New York Post, Wired, etc.–”that are meeting the challenges to successfully monetize digitally.” He kept it apolitical (no mentions of his digitally centric 2004-2010 tenure as Meredith National Media Group president that led to his Time Inc. hire), but ABC members let it be known that “we miss you in the magazine industry.”

That feedback resulted in Griffin accepting invitations to keynote the April 25 Latin American Conference of the World Association of Newspapers in Santiago, Chile, and the April 29 opening of the American Business Media conference in San Francisco. “I have worked in newspapers and in b2b, and my purpose–as with ABC–will be to bring logic and creativity to bear in industry segments that are in a huge transition,” he says. “There are lots of examples of reinvention, innovation, and universal lessons that relate less to the ‘what’ and more to the ‘how.’”

But nothing yet on Griffin’s complete “why” for his leaving Time Inc. or his assessment of the early performance of successor (since January 2012) Laura Lang (ex-Digitas ceo), whose first two salvos were the dismissal of corporate chief marketing officer Stephanie George (a December 2010 Griffin promotion) and the hire of Bain & Co. to do a company-wide review. (Griffin did use Bain to work on “smaller, specific projects” during his final year at Meredith.) Aside from the shock at the time of his firing, Griffin has “successfully stayed above the fray and out of the swamp of what happened last year. I moved on. Life only goes forward.”