Former Time Inc. and Tribune Publishing CEO Jack Griffin joins M&A firm DeSilva+Phillips
Grffin was at Tribune Publishing for two years following its spin-off from the Tribune Company, but found himself ousted by the millionaire investor he brought in to help finance an acquisition that was eventually nixed by the DOJ
The two places old publishing pros go when they are out of work are either a private equity company or an M&A firm. Jack Griffin, fresh from being ousted by Tribune Publishing has found a new home at DeSilva+Phillips, the NYC mergers and acquisitions firm that specializing in the media.
“Jack has run the largest U.S. magazine publisher, second-largest U.S. newspaper publisher and the largest circulation magazine in the U.S. and did all of this while innovating and extending these businesses into digital and marketing services,” Reed Phillips, Managing Partner of DeSilva + Phillips said in a statement. “We’re excited to have him join us and believe his impressive record of building media businesses will greatly benefit our clients.”
One media site speculated that this may be a way for Griffin to reenter the publishing business (I worked briefly at an M&A firm before taking another publisher gig), but the easier way is to jump to a private equity firm that buys properties, then jump back into running a company they invest in. It is a cycle that some executives have made into a career strategy (the PE firms like to know they have their guy in charge).
Griffin’s tenures at both Tribune and Time Inc. were short. He spent only six months at Time when Time Warner CEO and Chairman Jeff Bewkes “concluded that his leadership style and approach did not mesh with Time Inc. and Time Warner.” Supporters say Griffin found Time Inc. to be full of entrenched interests, and there is no reason that both things could not be true.
Griffin’s tenure at Meredith was far longer, where he was President of the National Media Group for over seven years (Meredith calls its magazines “national” and its broadcast side the Local Media Group).
Griffin’s M&A ventures at Tribune were mixed. He successfully concluded a deal that brought in the San Diego Union Tribune to the company’s Southern California holdings, but shortly after Griffin was ousted, its efforts to acquire the Orange County Register were halted by the Department of Justice concerns. Ironically, it was funding for this effort that likely led to Michael Ferro’s money being brought in (and Griffin and a few NYC execs being forced out).
Griffin may well discover what I did about the M&A business: there is way more money to be made selling media properties than there is managing them – it’s just not as much fun or as satisfying.