Time Inc. (TIME
) named a new chief executive officer, replacing Joe Ripp after three years at the helm.
The publisher of media giants such as People and Sports Illustrated, said that Rich Battista, Time’s executive vice president and president for brand, would assume the CEO role effective immediately.
Reuters reported that Ripp was suffering from health issues, and recently underwent surgery for clogged heart arteries. Ripp, 64, had run Time since 2013. He’ll remain with the company as executive chairman. Battista, 52, joined Time last year.
The shakeup comes as Time continues to struggle amid a changing media environment. Just last week Time announced it had purchased Bizrate Insights, a consumer-research service, as part of an effort to boost the return-on-investment for advertisers in Time brands. Perhaps more ominously, Ripp’s departure comes shortly after the New York Post reported that activist investor Jana Partners, which recently disclosed it had acquired a 5 percent stake in Time, had met with the company to express concerns about the age of board members.
Shares fell 15 cents, or 1.04 percent, to 14.32, in an overall down market.
Analysts appeared to be unconcerned by Ripp’s departure. No statements were issued, and no changes were made to recommendations or targets.
The most recent analyst action was on May 19 when Macquarie upgraded the company from "neutral" to "outperform," saying “Time Inc. should see a dramatic turnaround in earnings and cash flow starting in H2 this year, after heavy cost cutting the past 2 years and investments in content now...The company is reinventing itself far beyond its legacy magazine publishing into a multi-media business built on well-known brands, with a growing presence in video, events and ad tech services.”
Time Inc. is rated positively by 3 of the 4 analysts who follow the company. The median target price is $17.