NEW YORK — The ousted leader of Time Warner Inc.'s magazine division defended his short tenure on the job Friday, saying his efforts to transform the business had been praised before his firing.
"My exit was clearly not about management style or results," Jack Griffin said in a statement issued after he was dumped by Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes on Thursday. "I leave behind a first-rate team and wish them all the best of success."
Griffin, 50, had been lured away from another major magazine publisher, Meredith Corp., to lift a Time Warner division that includes Time, Sports Illustrated and People magazines. He became CEO and chairman of Time Inc. last September.
Bewkes indicated that Griffin clashed with other Time Inc. executives. "Although Jack is an extremely accomplished executive, I concluded that his leadership style and approach did not mesh with Time Inc. and Time Warner," Bewkes wrote in a memo to employees Thursday.
Griffin left Meredith with a $1.4 million separation agreement when he joined Time Inc., according to documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Meredith's magazines include Better Homes and Garden and Ladies' Home Journal.
Bewkes said three Time Inc. executives, including editor-in-chief John Huey, will run the division until he hires Griffin's successor. The other executives temporarily in charge include Howard Averill, Time Inc.'s chief financial officer, and Maurice Edelson, Time Inc.'s general counsel.
Griffin's arrival at the company had seemed well-timed, given that the magazine industry was just starting to pull out of a prolonged slump brought on by a steep downturn in advertising. Time, Sports Illustrated and People all brought in more ad revenue last year, with the increases ranging between 2 percent and 9 percent, according to the Publishers Information Bureau. The magazines are trying to generate more revenue by selling digital copies on computer tablets and mobile phones.