Having joined Hearst UK in April, James Wildman, new CEO, has clear plans for driving the business forward. Here, he talks cultural change, revenue generation and the future of the publishing industry…
Jon Watkins spoke to him ahead of the 41st FIPP World Congress, where he will be one of our speakers. The Congress takes place from 9-11 October at Tobacco Dock in London, and if you haven’t yet, now is your chance to sign up for it here.
Tell us about your route to Hearst and your philosophy for driving the business forward – the approach and leadership beliefs that are steering your work?
I joined Hearst UK from Trinity Mirror where I was chief revenue officer. I was tasked with transforming the company’s industry reputation and driving a turnaround performance built around digital acceleration and creativity. Prior to that I worked at Yahoo as managing director and VP of sales. I also ran IDS, Virgin Media’s former television ad sales business, so I’ve got experience across several areas of media.
I joined Hearst in April this year. It’s a fantastic business with amazing content, trusted media brands, engaged audiences and hugely talented people working within it. I’ve been given a clear growth mandate and believe collaboration and a winning culture is fundamental to underpinning our success.
What do you see as the core opportunities for Hearst in the current market and the threats facing the industry right now?
Our industry is continuing to undergo significant change, and any successful business needs to get ahead of that change. At Hearst we have a clear focus on diversifying our revenues into areas like events and licensing. Our events business for example has doubled in size over the last 12 months and reaches over a million consumers a year through events such as the Elle Style Awards and Esquire Townhouse. Brand extensions are also key, and include a Country Living range of sofas with DFS and Men’s Health vitamins. We’ve also got a growing B2B operation offering accreditation via the Good Housekeeping Institution.
Ultimately, it’s our job to make sure that our content is reaching and engaging audiences everywhere. We go where they are, and so whatever platform they are on, our content is on.