Time On His Hands: A Conversation with Lon Jacobs ’81, Executive Vice President and General Counsel, Time Inc.
|Lon Jacobs '81
Time Inc., the nation's largest magazine company, owns such household print titles as Sports Illustrated
, and Time
. But like many companies immersed in ink, it is at a challenging crossroads. In March, Time Warner announced that it would spin off its magazine publications into a new public company allowing its main business to focus more on its lucrative film and television assets. Time Inc. is being untethered at an uphill point in the market for magazines. Overseeing Time Inc's strategy and transition to an independent public company is a team of leaders that includes Chief Executive Officer Joseph A. Ripp, Chief Content Officer Norm Pearlstine, and Executive Vice President and General Counsel Lon Jacobs, Class of 1981.
Jacobs has long been a key player in the world of mass media. As general counsel of News Corp., where he worked for 15 years, he led the acquisitions of The Wall Street Journal
and the social networking site MySpace. Aside from serving as general counsel, he was also one of seven executives who served in Murdoch's Office of the Chairman, which acts as an advisory board of sorts for the company's leadership.
Interestingly, Jacobs was a history major at Temple University, where he graduated summa cum laude. "My favorite topic was American history and all my heroes were lawyers: Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Abraham Lincoln," he said. "So I decided to become a lawyer." His first-year Constitutional Law Professor Joel Gora became a mentor and remains a dear friend today. Hoping to emulate Gora, he joined Squadron Ellenoff, which represents The New York Post
and had a robust First Amendment practice.
Early on, Jacobs developed an affinity for transactional work. "I loved the corporate side," he said. "I just liked the negotiating." By 1991 Jacobs had become the relationship partner for News Corp., the parent of The New York Post
and one of the world's largest media companies. In 1996, he was recruited to become its deputy general counsel. Eight years later, he was appointed senior executive vice president and group general counsel, where he supervised a team of 300 international lawyers and handled all legal matters including business development, securities, governance, and compliance.
Managing Editor Andrea Strong '94 spent some time with Jacobs at his office in the Time & Life Building chatting about his role at the helm of Time, the state of print media, and the best use his marital vice account.
Read the full interview.