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CEO Dialogue Series

TIME’s first female CEO plots course for the future

12 December 2023 in CEO Dialogue Series

Jessica Sibley, CEO of TIME, explains to Jean-François Manzoni how she is transforming the 100-year-old media brand into a company that can remain relevant in the digital age....

When Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff first tapped Jessica Sibley for the CEO position at TIME, he asked her how she would transform the venerable news group. Like a true media veteran, she responded with a headline. 

“I looked at my blank computer screen and the first thing I wrote down was TIME 3.0,” she recalled. “And I think that by the time I actually walked in the door, I was on seven pages in version seven with seven leading priorities and goals.” 

Almost a year into her role, Sibley, who jokingly describes herself as an impatient New Yorker, has taken action on all seven priorities with the overarching goal of making TIME, which is celebrating its centennial year, relevant for new audiences in the digital age. 

Though not a journalist, Sibley has been at the heart of major news outlets for her entire career. From her previous role overseeing revenue initiatives as COO at Forbes to her stints at the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, and Condé Nast, her focus has always been on driving revenue growth. 

At TIME, she is following a similar playbook. While its journalism will always remain the core product, Sibley is branching out into new businesses including digital commerce and the branded content division Red Border. She has expanded live events and extended its TIME 100 franchise to spotlight next-generation leaders in artificial intelligence, healthcare, and entertainment. TIME also launched its first-ever Climate 100 list to coincide with the COP 28 Climate Conference in Dubai. 

Power to the people ABB
“I am so lucky in my career that I’ve been surrounded by incredible men who have mentored me, taken a chance on me, and who’ve been great collaborators and partners.”
- Jessica Sibley

Another major revenue generator is TIME Studios, the group’s in-house TV and film company, which produces scripted and unscripted shows that are sold to streaming services. Major successes have included documentaries on the soul singer Aretha Franklin and rapper Megan Thee Stallion. With revenues hitting $100 million in three years, it has become TIME’s fastest-growing business. 

While many traditional media brands have struggled to branch out into TV and film, Sibley credits the success of TIME Studios to its strategy of hiring experts and operating it like a separate business. 

“It reminds me of what Forbes did in the very early days of,” she said. “I was at Forbes magazine and was in a different building, run by different leaders. They hired digital journalists, marketers and built this incredible business that still exists. They kept a really strong print business and then were able to integrate it in such a financially successful way when it was time to make that decision.” 

Scrapping the paywall 

With many media groups grappling to find a sustainable revenue model, one of Sibley’s first moves as CEO was a surprising one: to scrap the paywall on and make its digital archive freely accessible. She was driven by a desire to boost digital inclusivity and ensure free access to quality information. It was also a smart business move. TIME currently has its largest-ever audience: 120 million people, 45% of whom are under the age of 35, which makes it more attractive to marketers. 

“We’re working with the most important global blue-chip brands that are best in class and have really large budgets,” she said. “And they want to align with a brand like TIME because we are so trusted.” 

We have to take what is incredible about TIME and make it contemporary, relevant, and lead to new models and platforms.
- Jessica Sibley

One of the less visible new businesses is the website-building platform TIME Sites, which was renamed after the company acquired Brandcast. Sibley describes it as the “new PDF” with real-time data and interactive highly visual storytelling. TIME uses the product to showcase what it’s doing internally, but also sells it to other business clients. These new high-margin businesses are needed to protect TIME’s newsroom, which while expensive to run is the foundation on which all other revenue streams are built. 

Lastly, Sibley has launched a sustainability and climate action platform TIMECO2 and has hired the group’s own chief climate officer. “I always like to go first, so I don’t believe that there’s any other media company that has a Chief Climate Officer nor a sustainability action platform like TIMECO2,” she said. 

In the room where it happens 

TIME is Sibley’s first CEO role. As the public face of the company, she spends a lot of time traveling the world to talk to customers and build the brand. One of her biggest challenges, she says, is making sure that TIME journalists are safe, and that the newsroom is productive and happy. 

“That’s our product. That’s really important to me. And we’re going through a lot of change and that means uncertainty. We have to take what is incredible about TIME and make it contemporary, relevant, and lead to new models and platforms.”  

Throughout her career, Sibley has often been the only woman in the room. Unfazed by this, she is just as committed to diversifying TIME’s workforce as she is to building new revenue streams. Since her tenure began, female leadership at TIME has risen above 50% with several women joining the executive team. 

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“I am so lucky in my career that I’ve been surrounded by incredible men who have mentored me, taken a chance on me, and who’ve been great collaborators and partners. So, I never felt uncomfortable in any of these rooms,” she said, highlighting how TIME’s owners Marc and Lynne Benioff gave her a huge opportunity as a first-time CEO. 

“I am going to continue to focus on diversity. I call it my forever and ongoing project,” she said. Sibley has asked her team to look at where the ongoing gaps are at TIME, not just in the C-suite but across the workforce. “I’ve worked at companies that had [women on the board or in the C-suite] but where the rest of the employee base wasn’t diverse. So I think you’ve got to look at everything and identify where the improvement needs to happen.” 


Watch the full CEO Dialogue to hear more from Jessica Sibley on the changing media landscape, how to rejuvenate a legacy brand, and what she expects from her top team.


jessica sibley the TIME

Jessica Sibley


As CEO of TIME, Jessica Sibley oversees the global media brand which includes TIME's iconic magazine and digital platforms that reach a combined audience of 100 million around the world; the Emmy Award-winning film and television division TIME Studios that has generated more than $100 million in revenue; a rapidly growing global live events business built around the powerful TIME100 and Person of the Year franchises; an industry-leading web3 division, including the TIMEPieces NFT community; Red Border Studios, producer of award-winning branded content; the website-building platform TIME Sites; and the sustainability and climate-action platform CO2 by TIME.


Jean-François Manzoni

Jean-François Manzoni

IMD President

Jean-François Manzoni is the President of IMD, where he also serves as the Nestlé Professor. His research, teaching, and consulting activities are focused on leadership, the development of high-performance organizations and corporate governance.

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