Paul Sagan told CNET that he's resigning to spend more time with his family and to watch his children grow up.
Sagan, who joined Time Warner in 1991 to launch its cable news channel New York 1 News, later was named senior vice president of Time's new media division in 1995. In January, he was promoted to president and editor of New Media, which includes online, cable, and electronic publishing, with sites like Pathfinder and Netly News.
Sources familiar with Sagan's work questioned the reasons for his departure. "When Paul took the top slot, a lot of people were concerned he didn't have management ability," one source said. "He botched the Pathfinder redesign, and about 12 editors have left so far this year."
Another person familiar with Sagan's work said that only 50 percent of New Media's advertising projections are being met and that the gap between revenues and profits is widening.
Sources also said that Sagan was heard to say in various meetings that he had no interest or background in new media and didn't understand how to pull profits out of cyberspace. Sources speculated that Sagan had accepted the job as a stepping stone toward becoming president of CNN.
But Sagan contends that this was not the case. "I wouldn't have done this for the last several years if it wasn't the most exciting thing in media," he said. "I'll probably come back to something like this in the future."
He added he also had no interest in the top slot at CNN, and as far as the financial health of New Media was concerned, "we will meet all our revenue projections, including advertising." He noted that no revisions have been made to those estimates in the last few months.