By Jennifer Saba
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Time Inc Chief Executive Officer Joe Ripp is reorganizing the structure of the world's largest magazine publisher and consolidating oversight as it prepares to spin off from its corporate parent Time Warner, according to a memo to staff on Tuesday.
Time Inc is eliminating three operating units - sports and news, lifestyle and entertainment - that divided its stable of titles such as popular U.S. magazines Sports Illustrated and People.
The company also plans to cut about 500 positions globally, or roughly 6 percent of its workforce, said a person familiar with the company.
The move to reorganize the publisher's six-year-old structure comes as Time Inc integrates American Express Publishing, which it bought last year, and prepares to separate from Time Warner Inc this year.
The magazine industry has been hit with declining circulation and advertising revenue as people choose to read on mobile devices. For the third quarter, revenue at Time Inc fell 2 percent to $844 million on weaker subscriptions and advertising sales.
Time Warner plans to report its fourth-quarter results on Wednesday.
"The performance of print and individual brands will always be important, but Wall Street's focus will be on the performance of Time Inc and on our ability to grow beyond print," Ripp wrote.
Ripp appointed Evelyn Webster and Todd Larsen to oversee the operations of about 100 titles. Both will report directly to Ripp.
Larsen is the former president of Dow Jones and The Wall Street Journal. Webster served as CEO of Time Inc's British publishing unit IPC.
Time Inc also named Mark Ford as executive vice president of advertising sales, a position that has been unfilled since Paul Caine left the company last spring. Ford was most recently responsible for operations at Time Inc's Sports Group.
(Editing by Amanda Kwan)