Nancy Gibbs named managing editor of Time

"I cannot think of a more perfect person than Nancy to lead TIME," Time Inc. Editor-in-Chief Martha Nelson says in an email to staffers announcing Nancy Gibbs' appointment as managing editor.

Gibbs will be the first woman to lead the magazine. She was previously its deputy managing editor.

Gibbs succeeds Rick Stengel, who is leaving the magazine to join the U.S. Department of State.

Full memo:

I am pleased to announce the appointment of Nancy Gibbs as the new Managing Editor of TIME.

She succeeds Rick Stengel, who President Obama announced today is his nominee to be Under Secretary of Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs at the Department of State.

I cannot think of a more perfect person than Nancy to lead TIME. She has done an outstanding job running TIME since July, when I asked Rick to assist me with corporate matters related to our upcoming spin off. Her cover stories in the past weeks on Syria, collegiate sports and child-free couples have been huge successes with readers and in the media, and, in the same period, she launched TIME’s Martin Luther King Jr. anniversary special issue in tandem with a new documentary film unit, Red Border Films, that is expanding the way TIME tells stories through video online.

Nancy has a long history at TIME, serving most recently as deputy managing editor. She is one of the most published writers in the history of the magazine, having been an essayist and lead writer on virtually every major news event of the past two decades, including four presidential campaigns and the September 11 attacks. She is the co-author, with TIME’s Michael Duffy, of two best-selling presidential histories: The President’s Club: Inside the World’s Most Exclusive Fraternity (2012) and The Preacher and the Presidents: Billy Graham in the White House (2007). She has written more cover stories for TIME than any other writer in its history and won the National Magazine Award for her cover story of TIME’s black-bordered September 11, 2001, special issue.

As deputy managing editor, Nancy oversaw TIME’s transition to a fully digital newsroom. This year, she led a working group to develop the framework for’s mobile-based relaunch this fall, and she has been responsible for hiring nearly two dozen new reporters and editors in recent months as part of that effort, including a number of well-known digital journalists.

Nancy was born and raised in New York City. She graduated summa cum laude from Yale, with honors in history, and has a degree in politics and philosophy from Oxford, where she was a Marshall scholar. She joined TIME as a fact checker in 1985 and worked as a writer and editor before holding senior management positions. She has twice served as the Ferris Professor at Princeton, where she taught a seminar on politics and the press. Gibbs lives in Westchester County, New York, with her husband, and they have two daughters.

I would be remiss not to take note of another milestone: Nancy becomes the first woman to hold the Managing Editor title at TIME. With her at the helm, I expect TIME to continue to flourish and grow on every platform.

Nancy inherits a thriving TIME thanks in no small part to Rick’s superb leadership and vision over the past seven years—the longest service of any TIME editor since the 1980s. Rick revived and rejuvenated TIME and made it part of the national conversation even as the magazine’s longtime competitors were falling away. He redesigned and refocused the magazine, moving its delivery date from Monday to Friday; he took to historic traffic levels; he launched TIME’s iPad edition, one of the first magazines to appear on Apple’s tablet; and he has made TIME a leader in social media among news brands. In 2008, he started TIME’s national-service issue with a summit on the topic that brought together then Senators Obama and McCain for their only joint appearance outside an official presidential debate.

Under Rick’s leadership, TIME has won numerous awards. In 2012, TIME was named Magazine of the Year at the National Magazine Awards, the industry’s highest honor and a first in TIME’s history. In 2013, TIME received the National Magazine Award for Design, also a first. TIME also won two Emmy awards, another first for the brand: in 2010, for its Iconic Photo Series and, in 2012, for Beyond 9/11: Portraits of Resilience, a multimedia website, print issue, documentary film and museum exhibition. In addition, TIME has won major photography awards, including World Press Photo of the Year, the industry’s top honor, for the magazine’s arresting 2010 cover photo of Aisha, an Afghan woman mutilated by the Taliban.

This year, in another first for TIME, Rick published a single issue devoted to one story, “Bitter Pill,” a months-long investigation into health care pricing by Steven Brill that has changed the health care debate and directly inspired policy change in Washington. Working with the Carnegie Corporation of New York, Rick also helped establish the annual TIME Summit on Higher Education. During his tenure, Rick has interviewed and written about world leaders and newsmakers of every imaginable stripe, including President Obama, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Benjamin Netanyahu, Hillary Clinton, Mohamed Morsi, Julian Assange and Vladimir Putin. Having collaborated with Nelson Mandela on his autobiography Long Walk to Freedom, Rick wrote a 2008 cover story on Mandela for TIME that led to Rick’s most recent book, Mandela’s Way: Lessons on Life, Love, and Courage.

With his move to the State Department, Rick joins a long line of TIME journalists moving into public service. Presidents Eisenhower, Nixon, Carter, Reagan, Clinton, George W. Bush and Obama have turned to our leading editors for counsel and to hold positions in diplomacy and communications. Until his Senate confirmation hearing, Rick will continue to assist me on editorial matters related to our upcoming spinoff.

Please join me in congratulating Nancy and Rick and wishing them the best in their new roles.


  • Andrew Beaujon

    Andrew Beaujon reported on the media for Poynter from 2012 to 2015. He was previously arts editor at and managing editor of Washington City Paper. He's the author of the 2006 book "Body Piercing Saved My Life," about Christian rock and evangelical Christian culture.


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