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As It Preps for Spinoff, Time Inc. Hires CTO from Amazon

Colin Bodell joins a revamped team in a newly created position.

David Shankbone / Creative Commons
Peter Kafka covers media and technology, and their intersection, at Vox. Many of his stories can be found in his Kafka on Media newsletter, and he also hosts the Recode Media podcast.

As it gets ready to say goodbye to Time Warner, Time Inc. has brought in someone with digital chops to the top of the company’s org chart: The publisher has recruited Amazon executive Colin Bodell to become its chief technology officer, a newly created position.

People familiar with the move say Bodell, whose last job at Amazon was VP of its digital store platform, will report to CEO Joe Ripp. Time Inc. is expected to announce the move shortly.

Bodell, who has been at Amazon since 2006, will be in charge of updating and building all of the magazine publisher’s digital operations and products. People familiar with Time Inc.’s plans say Mitch Klaif, the company’s current chief information officer, will stay on.

The move is one of a series of management changes Ripp has made since he took the top job in September. Last week, for instance, Ripp announced that he was replacing Larry Hackett, the editor of the company’s flagship People magazine. Other moves include a new general counsel, a new CFO and the hiring of Bloomberg executive Norm Pearlstine as the company’s “chief content officer.” Still to come: A new chief revenue officer.

Ripp himself is the company’s fifth CEO in five years, so part of his job before Time Inc. goes out on its own this spring is to convince Wall Street that he has his management team in place. He will also likely have to engage in significant cost-cutting, a move that is both unnerving and familiar to Time Inc.’s employees.

But Time has also played with expansion moves in advance of the spin. Last fall the company made an offer to buy Forbes Media for less than $200 million, according to people familiar with the bid. The financial publishers, whose bankers have said they are looking for more than $400 million, rejected the offer, and reportedly have potential buyers willing to pay as much as $450 million.

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