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January 09, 2006

More than you know, your experience with this magazine is shaped by someone you seldom meet in these pages: Time Inc.'s editor-in-chief. His assignment: guiding 154 magazines read by 173 million people. It is one of the great jobs in journalism, all the more storied because over the past 83 years it has changed hands fewer times than the papacy. I'm excited to tell you that one of those rare transitions is happening now.

Time Inc.'s new editor-in-chief, the sixth in the line that began with Henry Luce, is John Huey. He has been our editorial director and succeeds Norman Pearlstine, who oversaw SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, TIME, PEOPLE, FORTUNE and our other titles for 11 eventful years. These men have devoted their lives to journalism and formed one of the most effective editorial partnerships ever.

We owe Norm thanks most perhaps for the boldness of his imagination. From the moment he arrived at America's largest, most successful magazine publisher, he thought only of how to make it better and bigger. I mentioned those 154 magazines. When he got here there were 21. Norm managed scores of acquisitions and start-ups to help make Time Inc. a far more global enterprise. Time and again, he sensed where the world was heading and got us there before the crowd. His interest in information technology had us using the Internet for all it was worth before many people knew what it was. His deep understanding of business and the economy--before joining us he had a long career at The Wall Street Journal--allowed him to lead us through the heady '90s and their trying aftermath. The range of his expertise is breathtaking: He once published a ranking of the 20 best recordings of Stormy Monday Blues. His remarkable combination of traits is why the American Society of Magazine Editors gave Norm its lifetime achievement award in 2005.

One of Norm's inspired choices was naming John Huey managing editor of FORTUNE in 1995. John is a native Atlantan who served as a Navy intelligence officer, then began his journalism career at a small-town weekly, the DeKalb New Era. From there he went to the Atlanta Constitution, then The Wall Street Journal. He and Norm helped launch the Journal's European edition in the early '80s. John came to FORTUNE as a writer in 1988. When Norm joined Time Inc., he made John FORTUNE's boss. The results were spectacular. John developed FORTUNE into one of America's hottest, most noted and quoted magazines while keeping its substance. The magazine attracted hordes of new readers, including record numbers of women. In 2001 he became Time Inc.'s editorial director.

John is unsurpassed as a judge of talent. He is passionate about storytelling and making our product utterly compelling. He has an amazing ability to execute--to make his dreams and ideas happen. And like Norm, he can see earlier than most where the world is heading. That gift will help him find ever more ways to deliver our editorial product, in magazines and through a multiplying array of digital media.

As a reader, you may not meet the editor-in-chief often. But I wanted you to appreciate what a friend and advocate you've had in Norm, and to be as enthusiastic as I am about the magazine experience--on paper and beyond--that John Huey will bring you in the years ahead.

PHOTOFRED R. CONRAD/THE NEW YORK TIMESTEAM SPIRIT Pearlstine (left) has worked closely with new editor-in-chief Huey.

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