UPDATE: Jack Griffin released his first personal statement since being fired from Time, Inc.
Here it is:
“I was recruited and hired by Time Warner to lead the business transformation of Time Inc., based on my clear record of success and results in the industry. This continued at Time Inc., with the consistent and documented acclaim of Time Warner’s senior management. Every action I took over the past six months was made with that ultimate goal in mind. My exit was clearly not about management style or results. I leave behind a first rate team and wish them all the best of success.”
We also received a message from a former colleague of Griffin from his time at the Meredith Corporation, who said that the Griffin that the management at Time, Inc. talked to reporters about “isn’t the one I worked for.”
He points out that when he was at Meredith, there were more female executive VPs then male. He believes Griffin’s Vatican comparison was “clearly a comparison to intrigue and backbiting there, not preaching.”
But that’s not all. According to Griffin’s colleague, the Time, Inc. folks are “a bunch of whiney arse wimps.”
Also: “Jack is direct and sometimes impatient, but so what? They should grow up over there…the culture will kill them.”
BEFORE: Yesterday Time Warner CEO and Chairman Jeff Bewkes sent out an email to all of his employees, announcing that Jack Griffin would no longer be Chairman and CEO of Time Inc.
Bewkes wrote: “I concluded that his leadership style and approach did not mesh with Time Inc. and Time Warner.”
So why was Griffin fired?
He annoyed other executives and managers by using consultants to aid in his reorganization of Time Inc. Griffin insisted that all magazines have a masthead, and his name appear on top of it. Some estimates show that his name took up space possibly worth millions in advertising.
He apparently made obnoxious, possibly sexist comments — Decorder points out that Time Inc. “lost its most senior African-American executive…and two of its highest ranking women.”
According to Media Decoder, one of Griffin’s several gaffes includes making too many references to being Roman Catholic in the workplace, which included comparing Time Inc. to the Vatican — something Bewkes had to personally speak to Griffin about.
Why would Griffin do so well at the Meredith Corporation, which publishes titles like Ladies Home Journal and Good Housekeeping, but then totally bomb at Time Inc?
The Times reporting paints this particular picture: Meredith is based in Des Moines (although they have offices in New York), while Time Inc. is very much a New York City corporate institution. While none of this is explicit in the article, the suggestion is that Griffin forgot that tossing around your whiteness, Christianity, and maleness in the corporate world does not automatically improve your stock. In fact, it might actually piss some people off.
An anonymous confidante of Griffin claims that his “exit had nothing to do with management style,” and instead blamed “entrenched interests” who “fiercely resist the change necessary” to make Time Inc. better.
Not because Griffin was a self-congratulating old white guy.