It has been said in the past that a photograph of the publisher appears in this magazine exactly twice—once when he comes and once when he goes. It was three years ago that my picture first appeared in this space, along with that of departing Publisher Kelso Sutton, who reported that my career as a shortstop had ended in my freshman year at Northwestern because I couldn't hit the curve.
It is now my pleasure to introduce another former shortstop—Bob Miller, 34, who this week takes his place as the ninth publisher in SI's 29-year history. Born in Los Angeles and raised mostly in Darien, Conn., Bob is a graduate of Williams College and of the Columbia Business School. He joined Time Inc. as a financial analyst in the controller's department in 1974 and became manager of international operations of TIME-LIFE BOOKS two years later. He moved to SI, as business manager, in 1979 and was named general manager a year and a half ago.
Bob has played a major part in implementing many of the innovations that have helped to make the last three years the most successful in the magazine's history. We have increased our circulation by 175,000—from 2.25 million to 2.425 million copies that now reach more than 13 million adults. We have completed our transition from the letterpress printing process to the more versatile offset, which has allowed our editors greater flexibility in covering late-breaking events and has also made it possible to publish even more four-color photographs. Two years ago SI started running color on all but a few of its pages, and plans call for a 100% color magazine as of Sept. 5. Also, in the last three years we have increased the number of editorial pages by almost 200 a year. This includes our special football issue begun last year but does not count the Year in Sports issue, or—a project that Bob has coordinated from the start—an extra issue scheduled for next summer that will preview the Olympics in Los Angeles.
Though Bob's career on the diamond ended, like mine, in his first year in college, it was no fault of his bat. He hit .275 at Williams and then drifted out of baseball into other sports. At Salisbury (Conn.) School he had hit .350 in baseball, captained the basketball team and, until he broke his back in his senior year, quarterbacked the football team.
I am moving on to assist Kelso as executive vice-president of Time Inc.'s magazine group, which is in his charge. In that capacity I will oversee the business affairs of four of Time Inc.'s eight magazines—FORTUNE, MONEY, LIFE and DISCOVER—direct development of new magazines and, of special interest to me, continue to examine reader attitudes about our publications through consumer research.
Bob and I share many feelings about the role of the publisher, but none so completely as our dedication to our readers. Their interests, I know, will be served by the new publisher—a publisher, I might add, who can hit the curve.
HOWLETT AND MILLER: WE'RE TRADING SHORTSTOPS