ADOTAS – Time Inc. CEO Joe Ripp has a lot on his mind these days as he prepares the publishing company for its spinoff from Time Warner later this year. After the dust settles, Time Inc. will be operating as a public company that will be under intense scrutiny, especially during a time when publishing as an industry is pivoting towards digital without a safety net.
Ripp has been working hard to flesh out his leadership team as it prepares for the change, last week naming Colin Bodell (pictured) as EVP and chief technology officer, a new role for the company. Bodell will join the company on February 18, after working eight years as a senior executive at Amazon. At Time Inc., he will oversee strategic technology direction and manage day-to-day IT operations.
“Investing in technology and new product development is one of our single biggest priorities,” said Ripp. “Colin’s established technology leadership, proven ability to bring teams together to manage complex issues and relentless focus on customer experience make him the ideal executive to lead our effort. He has a reputation for being able to see beyond what currently exists, and that is exactly what we need.”
As reported by Adotas last April, Time Inc. is expected to start with $500 million to $1 billion in debt, in stark contrast to the publishing company that News Corp. will spin off this summer, which will have no debt. In Q4 2012, Time Inc.’s revenue fell 7 percent to $967 million, while revenue at Time Warner’s cable channels soared. After the split is finalized, Time Inc. will no longer have its former parent company’s profitable film and television entities to stabilize its future.
In a New York Times interview, Don Logan, the chief executive of Time Inc. from 1994 to 2002, noted just how daunting a task it is to transition a print magazine to the digital age, even for Time Inc., which has such well-known brands.
Fortunately, Bodell has experience in the digital publishing realm, and served as the VP of Amazon’s Digital Store Platform, where he led the organization responsible for the Kindle book, magazine and periodical store as well as the technology that supports Amazon digital content across the web, Kindle and third-party devices.
“Time Inc. is a clear leader when it comes to creating deep, high quality content,” said Bodell. “My role will be to ensure we are delivering that content in the ways that are most relevant to our consumers. Joe is setting a clear vision for Time Inc. as an independent company and I am excited to be joining his leadership team. I look forward to collaborating with all of the digital product and technology leaders throughout Time Inc.”
As Adweek first published, here’s the staff announcement from Ripp below:
As we prepare to go public, investing in technology and product development is one of our biggest priorities. To that end, I’m pleased to share the news that Colin Bodell will be joining Time Inc. as Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer. In this newly-created position, Colin, who spent the past eight years as a senior executive at Amazon, will be responsible for shaping the overall strategic technology direction for the new Time Inc. He will join the company on February 18.
Reporting to me, Colin will be charged with establishing a vision and identifying and acquiring best-in-breed technology that can be leveraged across Time Inc. He will have oversight of day-to-day IT operations and will work closely with our digital and product teams around the company to establish a cohesive strategy and product development roadmap.
I’d also like to share the news that Mitch Klaif, Time Inc.’s Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer for the past seven years, will be taking on a new role within the company. As a Senior Vice President reporting to Jeff Bairstow, Mitch will be charged with managing a number of critical initiatives that are both key to our transition to an independent company and to our ongoing transformation as a leading media organization.
Transformation is something that needs to be done continuously and it will be Mitch’s responsibility to ensure that we remain efficient, effective and flexible as we tackle what’s ahead. He will also use his broad experience and knowledge of Time Inc. to help Colin in his new role.
In Colin, we have found an executive who is not only a technology leader, but who is known for his ability to inspire teams and collaborate effectively on complex issues. At Amazon, Colin headed the technology team for the Kindle store, which also supports Amazon digital content across web, Kindle and third party devices. He originally joined Amazon in 2006 to run the Website Application Platform (WAP) group, which provides the platforms, services and tools that power Amazon’s websites around the world and makes the company’s massive scale possible.
In his 29 year career in technology, Colin has also held senior executive posts at VA Software, Webgain, Intellicorp, and Micro Focus. It’s worth noting that Colin is a named inventor on four U.S. patents on topics ranging from methods for fabricating products on demand to protecting network sites during adverse network conditions. He currently has ten patents pending with the U.S. Patent Office.
He has a passion for developing talent and currently sits on the Board of Trustees of the Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology. At Amazon, he served as the executive sponsor of Amazon Women in Engineering. A native of Liverpool, England, Colin holds a degree in Computer Science from Coventry University, England.
I hope you will join me in welcoming Colin when he arrives in February. And I’m sure many of you will be working closely with Mitch as he transitions into his new role.