Josh Quittner, Time Inc. (NYSE: TWX) director of digital editorial development for news, sports, and business, is leaving the print magazine world for a startup: Flipboard, the social magazine iPad app. He will be Flipboard’s first editorial director.
Quittner has a long history at Time. He was recruited by Walter Isaacson in the mid-90’s as the first writer to cover the internet exclusively. He was later editor of Time.com, then of Time Digital Magazine. He moved to San Francisco to edit Business 2.0 in 2002 and became Executive Editor of Fortune in 2007 after Business 2.0 folded, then returned to Time and his current position in 2008.
Quittner covered consumer technology extensively at Time and was also a key member of the team that developed the magazine’s content for tablets. He is joining a Silicon Valley startup with major backing, giving him a chance to participate in the world he helped cover for so long, but he’s staying based in New York, still the center of publishing. (Here’s a quick take from Om Malik, one of Quittner’s key Business 2.0 hires, who made the start-up leap far ahead of his former boss.)
Quittner told Keith Kelly he’ll start in early July.
Time Inc. hasn’t yet named a direct replacement for Quittner and they may not, since it was a role designed for him and was in tandem with Terry McDonnell. Here’s Time Inc. Editor-In-Chief John Huey’s staff memo:
To: Time Inc. News and Sports Groups
From: John Huey
Re: Josh Quittner
I want to let you know that Josh Quittner has decided to realize his long-held dream of jumping on the Silicon Valley startup train. Specifically, he will soon be leaving us to join Flipboard.
It’s a fitting moment to recall Josh’s unusual history at, and substantial contributions to Time Inc.
Recruited by Walter Isaacson in the mid-90’s as the first writer to cover the internet exclusively, Josh later worked as an editor of the Netly News at Pathfinder, our original web mega offering. After that, he was editor of TIME.com, then of Time Digital Magazine, which became On Magazine during the AOL (NYSE: AOL) era, and then moved to San Francisco to edit Business 2.0, which is probably where he caught this startup virus that has now resurfaced.
He was an early advocate of digital thinking at Time Inc. As a writer at TIME and FORTUNE, Josh wrote the 1999 Person of the Year profile of Jeff Bezos and penned covers on digital privacy, Apple’s rebound in 2002 and, more recently, the advent of the tablet age. Not coincidentally, he also was a key member of the team that got us involved in the tablet age.
As much as we’ll miss Josh and his colorful personality in both the News and Sports Groups, we shouldn’t miss a beat digitally: Terry McDonell continues to lead digital innovation on all formats at SI, while Jim Frederick, Dan Roth, Chris Peacock, and, of course, John Cantarella are launching new apps and ideas on a regular basis at the News Group.
I’m sure we’ll continue to do business with Josh down the road. I, for one, sincerely wish him all the very best in his new venture.