'Business as usual at Dennis Publishing' where new mission is to grow the company and plant trees

Staff at Dennis Publishing have been assured that the future of the company is secure and told that their mission following the death of owner Felix Dennis is to grow the cbusiness and plant trees.

Dennis died on Sunday aged 67 and left detailed plans for the future of the company he founded.

Dennis Publishing will be owned by the Heart of England Forest, a charity whose purpose is  “the plantation, re-plantation, conservation and establishment of trees for the benefit of the public, together with the education of the public by the promulgation of knowledge and the appreciation of trees”.

The charity was started by Felix Dennis himself and has planted more than one million trees.

Dennis Publishing chief executive James Tye will run the company and the (unpaid) board of trustees of the Heart of England forest will be its ultimate proprietors.

They are: estate manager David Bliss, lawyer Anthony Burton, Felix Dennis’s brother Julian, accountant Ian Leggett and HR professional Alison Hunter.

Tye reassured staff yesterday that following the death of Dennis, the message was “business as usual”.

Press Gazette understands that he told them the company had two aims now: to grow and to plant trees.

Felix Dennis’s funeral will be a private affair but the company plans to hold a celebration of his life for staff at some point in the future.

In 2012 Dennis Publishing reported revenue of £77.7m. Group operating profit totalled £5.5m with a further £10m paid in royalties and dividends to Felix Dennis. In future it appears that any company surplus will go to the Heart of England Forest, a small charity which currently prides itself on employing no staff.

Dennis titles include The Week, Viz, Auto Express, Bizarre, Evo and Fortean Times.

Dennis started with nothing and first came to prominence as one of the three publishers of Oz magazine who in 1971 were jailed for two weeks for obscenity, only for the charges to be overturned on appeal.

He began his publishing empire with the launch of Kung Fu monthly in 1974 and in 1976 he launched Which Bike.

He bought Europe’s first home computer magazine PC World for less than £100,000 in 1979 only to sell it three years later for £3m.

Felix went on to build a publishing empire by launching and acquiring magazines which reflected the zeitgeist including: music magazine Blender, gambling title Poker Player, news digest title The Week and gadget magazine Stuff.

Maxim magazine was launched in 1995 and went on to be the best-selling lads’ magazine in the world. Dennis closed the UK edition in 2009.

There is a timeline of Felix Dennis’s life on the Felix Dennis website.

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