Changes At 'Time': Finally. Maybe. Finally.

Mediaweek reports that today's the day over at Time: "[M]anaging editor Jim Kelly dropped a big hint to staffers that they should be around for a 'pour' later today, according to Time insiders." Speculation over Kelly's replacement continues (Kurt Andersen finally gets his name mentioned by someone who isn't related to him!), but "the in-house favorite appears to be Priscilla Painton, who is a co-executive editor." Painton would be the first female managing editor of a newsweekly, which makes a lot of sense: You don't hand the important positions to the broads until they're not worth having any more. Seriously, apart from speculating about Time, does anyone spend any time actually, you know, reading it?

Time Changeover Set for Today: Kelly to Oversee Editorial Cluster; Successor to be Named [Mediaweek]

UPDATE: No sooner did we post then we were forwarded the following e-mail from John Huey, who has somehow managed to switch off the Caps Lock key: "I am most pleased to announce the promotion, effective June 15, of Jim Kelly to the newly created position of Managing Editor, Time Inc." Blah blah blah years of service, blah blah blah staure and expertise, blah blah blah truly excited to have kicked him upstairs. Huey goes on to decry the silly media guessing games, so, of course, they'll announce a successor "before the end of the week."

Full memo after the jump.

May 16, 2006

To: Time Inc. Staff

From: John Huey

Re: Staff Announcement

I am most pleased to announce the promotion, effective June 15, of Jim Kelly to the newly created position of Managing Editor, Time Inc.

After almost six years at the helm of Time, Jim has demonstrated a level of judgment, journalistic savvy and fierce intellect that resulted in a virtually flawless run for the magazine-this at a time when the stories of the day and the journalistic climate lent themselves to all manner of dangers. As we all know, Jim's run culminated last week with the winning of two national magazine awards for Time, the coveted General Excellence Award plus the single issue award for the magazine's inspirational 52-page special report on Katrina. That makes for a total of four Ellies Jim and his team have won, not to mention eight Luce awards.

For those interested in the real story, Jim and I began serious discussions about his future and Time's future at a lunch last November. At that time, I expressed to him my belief that his skills would translate perfectly into the new management structure I envisioned for running the editorial operations of this increasingly complex company. I told him I believed Time Inc. needed someone of his stature and expertise to concentrate on a variety of areas, but most especially those involving what I would call standards, practices and ethics.

Having watched Jim navigate all manner of crises at Time over the years, including the never-ending Valerie Plame saga, I was convinced he was the person for this job. As I described it to him, the job would entail both proactive policymaking and pre-publication vetting of controversial stories, but crisis management as well. In addition, I asked him to become involved with me in the recruitment of big-time outside talent for our company.

The job immediately appealed to Jim, but he said he had unfinished business at Time, which I readily understood. With this year's Time 100 issue and party out of the way, as well as the National Magazine Awards, that business is now complete. He has done his job, and he has done it exceedingly well.

I am truly excited to have Jim join me as the only other editorial executive at the top of the masthead and, even more, to have him become my neighbor in the office next door. Modesty aside, I think we-along with executive editors Sheryl Tucker and Scott Mowbray-are going to make a great 34th floor team, one that can serve the interest of the company as a whole and of the managing editors who run our titles and groups of titles.

Knowing that everyone is weary from the silliness of the guessing games in the media, we plan to announce Jim's successor before the end of the week.

I'm sure you all join me in wishing Jim the best in his new role.

J. H.