Time Inc. has appointed Rich Battista, a former longtime Fox TV exec who has been with the company less than two years, as its new president and CEO.
Battista, who had been executive VP of Time Inc. and president of brands, succeeds Joe Ripp as CEO. Ripp said in an interview with CNNMoney that several weeks ago he experienced a “health incident” that prompted him to reconsider his ability to continue as chief executive officer. Ripp, 64, did not provide details on the health scare.
Ripp will continue to serve as Time Inc.’s executive chairman and has agreed to remain an employee through Sept. 30, 2018. In addition, Battista will join the company’s board.
Battista, who is 52, takes the reins as the media company has set its sights on cranking up its digital and video businesses to offset print revenue declines.
“I am deeply grateful to have had the opportunity to lead this tremendous company for the past three years, and I am excited about its future,” Ripp said in a statement. “As we look to the next phase of our strategy, Rich is the right choice to execute our plans and deliver shareholder value.”
Battista commented, “During this dynamic time in media, we are transforming Time Inc. to a cross-media company and are uniquely positioned to leverage our brands, scale, data and insights to significantly grow new lines of business in service to advertisers, marketers and consumers.”
Among other initiatives, Battista spearheaded the development and launch this week of the People/Entertainment Weekly Network, a free over-the-top video service aimed at capturing TV ad dollars with longer-form content.
Battista, prior to joining Time Inc. in March 2015, served as CEO of Mandalay Sports Media. Over a period of more than 18 years, Battista held numerous senior management roles at Fox Television, where he was integral in conceiving of, building and operating its portfolio of networks. He was CEO of Gemstar-TV Guide International from 2004 to 2008.
Battista originally joined Time Inc. to head People and Entertainment Weekly, and later added oversight of Sports Illustrated Group and the company’s video division. In July, he was elevated to executive VP and president of brands overseeing the company’s U.S. media properties.