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Waiting for Bain & Co.'s Time Inc. Report

Employees have a few more weeks worth of interviews before the consulting firm presents its suggestions to ceo Laura Lang.

WAITING FOR THE REPORT: Time Inc. employees have a few more weeks worth of interviews with Bain & Co. consultants before the firm’s suggestions are presented to chief executive officer Laura Lang at the end of the month. But don’t expect a press release or company memo to be issued shortly thereafter. Sources said Lang will likely take her time to make her first moves.

When Bain & Co. was hired in March, Lang tried to explain its presence at Time Inc. in a memo: “We need to find areas where we can double down, place big bets and get back on a revenue growth trajectory. We can only accomplish this if we have a very clear assessment of the landscape in which we operate and a cohesive strategy.” At the time, the company stressed that this wasn’t a cost-cutting measure but that hasn’t eased the concerns of employees who don’t know Lang well and have been through this before. As longtime Time Inc. employees will recall, McKinsey was hired in 2007 to make the business more “efficient,” and hundreds were subsequently let go.

The phrasing has been different this time around but it’s been three months and staffers are getting anxious. “I can’t believe that Bain’s suggestions won’t mean layoffs or magazine closures,” said one employee. “We know there will be changes. We just want to hear what they will be.” One thing Lang has said to insiders is she won’t be afraid to try new things at Time Inc. and, if they fail, they will fail fast and it will be on to the next thing. “People just want to know the basics: Will this impact their job? Is the company going to go more heavily digital? Many of us have spoken to Bain and people are being extremely candid. Now, what’s next?”