Viva la Revolution!
By Norman Pearlstine/Editor-In-Chief

(FORTUNE Magazine) – It has given me great pride and pleasure to watch FORTUNE move to the forefront of the American business conversation over the past six years. I have enjoyed it as a reader and as an editor long interested in business journalism, but I have taken particular pleasure in watching my old friend and colleague John Huey, FORTUNE's managing editor, come into his own as a magazine maker and editorial leader of the first order.

It has been equally gratifying to watch FORTUNE's staff emerge as a high-performance, motivated team of professional business storytellers. They were led not just by John but by a deputy managing editor who complemented and augmented his talents--Rik Kirkland, a 22-year FORTUNE veteran who simultaneously embraced the new and preserved the best of the old culture at this venerable journalistic institution.

Together, this crew engineered one of the most stunning successes I've witnessed in the magazine business. Between 1995 and 2000, FORTUNE doubled its ad pages and newsstand sales, while increasing its overall circulation by 13%. There was no secret formula to this, only the simple assignment I gave to John on Valentine's Day six years ago: "Make FORTUNE the world's best magazine that happens to be about business." Easy for me to say, quite remarkable for him to do.

Now I am asking John to do it again, in the new position of FORTUNE's editor. John will remain involved in major issues affecting FORTUNE, but he will also assume responsibility for Time Inc.'s other business and personal finance magazines, including Money, Fortune Small Business, Mutual Funds, and our newest business title, eCompany Now. As editor, he will explore ways to make all these publications serve their readers with ever more grace and utility, while exploiting the many editorial opportunities promised by the recent merger of our parent, Time Warner, with America Online.

Rarely is a single Time Inc. editor charged with the oversight of so many titles. But then, having worked with John for the better part of 20 years, I can attest that business journalism has seldom seen an editor of his ability.

Hard as John's act will be to follow, choosing FORTUNE's next managing editor was not difficult at all: Rik Kirkland has been John's close aide and thinking partner throughout this period of extraordinary growth for the magazine. It takes a man of many parts to cater to readers as diverse and accomplished as those FORTUNE is blessed with, and that's Rik: Once an English teacher at Duke University, he's run FORTUNE's bureaus in Washington, D.C., and London--and when he sings "Stormy Monday" with his bar band after hours, it's almost enough to make the Allman Brothers wish they'd been business journalists.

FORTUNE will continue to grow under this new management and will try, as always, to do its job better with each issue. But don't look for radical redirection. As John puts it, "This change isn't going to shock readers in any way. First of all, I'm still very much around. But more important, it isn't exactly as if we've been hiding Rik's talents under a bushel. From the beginning, he's been a major force in both the magazine's management and its coverage. We're talking about a guy who can talk current-account deficits and hire Stanley Bing at the same time."

Or as Rik puts it, "On the one hand, I have nothing revolutionary in mind here. On the other, I want to continue the permanent revolution we instituted six years ago."

Or as Mao said to Zhou Enlai: "With you in charge, I have nothing to fear."