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Harty steps up as Meredith president and CEO; Lacy now executive chairman

Meredith Corp. announced today that its board of directors has elected Steve Lacy as executive chairman, and Tom Harty, currently president and chief operating officer, as president and CEO, effective Feb. 1. Lacy is currently chairman and CEO. 

The succession announcement comes as the Des Moines-based media and marketing services company nears its expected closing Wednesday for its acquisition of Time Inc. 

In his new role, Lacy, 63, will work with Harty to determine Meredith’s strategic agenda; continue to represent Meredith to the investment and financial communities; lead all board activities; and play a greater role in media industry association activities, particularly legislative initiatives. 

“With the pending close of the Time Inc. acquisition, we need to execute what I think of as a ‘divide and conquer’ strategy,” Lacy said during a brief phone interview. “We’ve been working together, sort of doing the same things in the same meetings, but closing this deal, we don’t have that luxury anymore.” 

Harty, 55, will continue to lead Meredith’s National and Local Media Groups, and direct the integration of the Time Inc. acquisition. He will add responsibility for Meredith’s finance and legal functions, which are led by Chief Financial Officer Joe Ceryanec and Chief Development Officer and General Counsel John Zieser, respectively. Harty’s previous position as COO, which Lacy described as traditionally a “transition/training” role, will not be filled. 

Harty said ensuring that the Time Inc. transition goes smoothly will be his major focus initially. 

“Obviously this is the largest deal the company has done it its 115-year history,” he said. “So there’s a lot to accomplish. Today, Meredith has approximately 4,000 employees and Time Inc. has roughly 7,200 employees, so as of Thursday morning we’ll be putting these two groups together, and that’s a huge undertaking.” 

The deal will instantly expand Meredith’s digital traffic to sixth-busiest in the country, behind organizations such as Google, Microsoft and Apple. “So there’s significant scale, and significant opportunity for us to grow that platform,” Harty said. 

Harty joined Meredith in 2004 as chief revenue officer and president of Consumer Magazines. He was named National Media Group President in 2010. Under his leadership, Meredith greatly expanded its media portfolio, adding brands such as Allrecipes.com, Shape and Martha Stewart Living – along with the incoming Time Inc. brands. 

His 30-plus years of media experience include senior leadership positions with several of the industry’s largest companies. He currently serves as treasurer and a board member of the Association of Magazine Media and the Alliance for Audited Media. 

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