Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, Time Inc.
Ann Moore took the lowest-paying job she was offered after receiving her MBA-because she loved magazines. She has remained with Time Inc., one of the world's most influential companies, for almost thirty years, holding key positions at publications such as Fortune, Sports Illustrated, and People before being named to the top spot in 2002.
Walk into most bookstores or approach any kiosk on a city street and you will encounter a wide array of magazines whose mix of news, entertainment, gossip, self-help, and commentary reflect American interests and culture.
This is what attracted Ann Moore. As a brand-new Harvard MBA in 1978, she had received thirteen job offers, but accepted the one with the lowest salary. "People were astounded that I chose to go to Time Inc.," says Moore. "They thought I was crazy." But she knew it was the correct decision because she loved magazines. When she was appointed chairman and CEO of the company in 2002, it was the highlight of her own success story.
Now the highest-ranking woman in the Time Warner organization, Moore oversees more than 145 magazines, their Web sites, and brand extensions. The list includes Time Inc.'s high-circulation weeklies-Time, Sports Illustrated, People, and Entertainment Weekly-along with other well-known publications such as Fortune, Golf Magazine, and Southern Living.
Moore began her career as a financial analyst at Time and quickly ascended the organization's ranks to become one of the first female executives at Sports Illustrated in 1983. She had acquired a passion for sports from her father and "had been a Sports Illustrated fan for years and really enjoyed the magazine," she recalls.
Moore founded Sports Illustrated for Kids in 1989. In fact, she has launched more magazines than Time cofounder Henry R. Luce. In 2004 alone, she introduced four new publications, including a revitalized version of Life magazine, which is now distributed on weekends in leading U.S. newspapers.
In 1991, she was named publisher of People magazine. "At the time, no one at Time Inc. knew that they were giving me something that would become so important to the corporation," she says with a smile. "Every man in the company wanted to be publisher of Sports Illustrated. I got the job at People because no one else wanted it." But by the end of her decade at the magazine, Moore had turned it into a consumer powerhouse and created a variety of equally successful spin-offs, including InStyle and People en Español. People is now a major contributor to the company's $5.8 billion in revenues.
Magazine publishing has changed dramatically during Moore's career. On her first day in the Time & Life Building, she was given what were then state-of-the-art tools: an adding machine and an IBM Selectric typewriter. But soon desktop computers were introduced, and they revolutionized the way business was done, helping the U.S. economy evolve from a manufacturing base to one driven by services and information. In 1978, Time Inc. produced only six magazines, but soon the number of print materials available to Americans began to explode.
Driven by consumer habits and technology, the landscape continues to change even more rapidly today. As a result, Moore is constantly seeking new ways to attract and retain readers-whether through content, design, or online updates. Yet some things remain the same. "Trusted editing is our core competence," she points out. "We still need people we trust to filter the flood of information."
The frenetic pace of life has made one of Moore's newest magazines especially popular. Launched in 2000, Real Simple is dedicated to helping people simplify and organize their lives. Ranked third on Adweek's 2006 "Hot List," the publication has been so successful that it turned profitable in just three years-compared with the ten years it took Sports Illustrated to break even.
The leading magazine publisher in the world, Time Inc. accounts for nearly a quarter of the total advertising revenues of U.S. consumer magazines. Two out of three adults in this country read one of its publications every month. And the company continues to diversify. The acquisition of Essence Communications Partners in 2005, for example, has made it possible for Time Inc. to reach more than 7 million African-American adult readers each month through Essence magazine.
As for global expansion, Moore's strategy involves acquiring successful magazine publishers in other countries, while continuing Time Inc.'s tradition of publishing local versions of some of its better-known titles. InStyle, for instance, is gaining popularity among audiences abroad, with nine international editions in countries such as Brazil, Germany, Greece, Korea, and Russia, plus a pending launch in Mexico.
Having just signed her last contract with Time Inc., Moore is focused on finding her successor. "Too few CEOs and boards are doing a responsible job of succession planning these days. That's why so many corporations are looking for executive talent. I'm going to spend a great deal of energy in the next few years training the people behind me so that they will be ready to take the helm of this organization."
Moore was once asked by a young intern at Time whether she decided to go into the "business side" of the industry because she was a frustrated writer. She chuckles at the notion, saying, "I was actually a frustrated reader. My job is to ensure that our writers, editors, and photographers deliver a product that is useful, informative, and entertaining, and that will keep readers coming back for more."