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David Carey, Jack Griffin, Ann Moore (“Publisher’s Musical Chairs”): Conde Nast, Meredith & Time

Why these quits are big: A lack of consistent leadership can be a serious problem for any corporation, especially where these three executives worked, the media conglomerates Conde Nast, Meredith and Time. Next year will be the first in 15 years that the four largest American magazine companies will all have new leaders, making it possible to judge whether the recent troubles in publishing can be addressed by changes in the executive suite. Want to play a game? Start the musical chairs: Ann Moore left Time Inc. (8 years as chief executive), replaced by Jack Griffin, who was poached from his job leading Meredith’s magazine division.3 Meredith, the publishing giant responsible for Better Homes & Gardens and Family Circle, promoted one of Mr. Griffin’s deputies, Tom Harty4. At Condé Nast, Charles H. Townsend, (CEO and President since 2004) agreed to hand over the job of President to protégé Robert Sauerberg. And David Carey, a longtime Condé Nast executive, departed to lead Hearst Magazines, replacing Cathleen P. Black5, a publishing industry fixture for three decades who is now the New York City schools chancellor.

Why they’re not as big as our Top 10: It is unclear what these companies hope to achieve by merely shifting the same leaders who steered the ship of publishing off course to begin with. Without innovation, changing captains will not have enough impact on an industry which is losing the race toward monetization in the digital age. Their most significant legacy is layoffs. In 2008, Moore eliminated around 600 jobs, or 6 percent of Time Inc.’s workforce6. Finally, the leaders that left may not have been that important anyway. Condé Nast said it had no plans to replace Mr. Carey, who occupied a senior and somewhat amorphous role. In leaving the position unfilled, Condé Nast implicates the top heavy burden that many publishers now regret.

Carr, David. “David Carey Leaving Condé Nast to Run Hearst Magazines” 28 June, 2010