Letter from the Chairman -- John Huey takes the role of Time Inc. editor-in-chief as Norman Pearlstine concludes an 11-year run

More than you know, your reading experience with this magazine is shaped by someone you seldom meet in these pages: Time Inc.’s editor-in-chief. His assignment is stunning in scope: guiding 154 magazines read by 173 million people around the globe. It is one of the great jobs in journalism, all the more storied because over the past 83 years it has changed hands fewer times than the papacy. So you can understand why I’m excited to tell you that one of those rare transitions is happening now.

Time Inc.’s new editor-in-chief, just the sixth in the line that began with Henry Luce, is John Huey. He has been our editorial director, and succeeds his boss, Norman Pearlstine, who oversaw TIME, PEOPLE, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, FORTUNE, and our many other titles through 11 eventful years. These men have devoted their lives to great journalism and have formed one of the most effective editorial partnerships ever.

We owe Norm thanks for a great deal, perhaps most for the boldness of his imagination. From the moment he arrived at the top of America’s largest, most successful magazine publisher, he thought only of how to make it better and bigger. I mentioned those 154 magazines. When he got here, there were 21. Norm managed scores of acquisitions and start-ups to help make Time Inc. a far more global enterprise in the era of the global economy.

Time and again, he sensed early where the world was heading and got us there before the crowd. His intense interest in information technology had us using the Internet for all it was worth before many people knew what it was. He understands business and the economy deeply — before joining us he had a long career at The Wall Street Journal, including eight years as managing editor — so he guided us expertly through the heady ’90s and their trying aftermath. The range of his expertise is breathtaking. Just one example: His knowledge of blues and jazz is so authoritative that he once published his ranking of the 20 best recordings of ”Stormy Monday Blues.” His remarkable combination of traits is why the people who judge magazine editing most critically, the American Society of Magazine Editors, gave Norm their lifetime achievement award in 2005.

One of Norm’s most inspired choices was naming John Huey managing editor of FORTUNE in 1995. John is a native Atlantan who served as a Navy intelligence officer, then began his journalism career in classic fashion at a small-town weekly, the DeKalb New Era. From there it was on to The Atlanta Constitution and then The Wall Street Journal, where he got to know Norm. Together, they helped launch the Journal‘s European edition in the early ’80s. John came to FORTUNE as a writer in 1988. When Norm joined Time Inc. as editor-in-chief seven years later, he quickly made John FORTUNE‘s boss.

The results were spectacular. John developed FORTUNE into one of America’s hottest, most noted and quoted magazines, while keeping all its legendary substance. The magazine attracted hordes of new readers, including record numbers of women, and John won all kinds of industry honors along the way. In 2001, he moved up to become Time Inc.’s editorial director, the No. 2 editorial position in the company, working with Norm.