Auton: an “inspired” choice
IPC Media’s new chief executive this week stressed the importance of journalists and said groundbreaking launches would be her priority.
Sylvia Auton, who succeeds Sly Bailey, said she hoped to see the launch of one big consumer magazine and two specialist titles by the end of the year.
“We are out to grow and grow we will,” she told Press Gazette. “Every conversation I have had with every senior executive at AOL Time Warner and Time Inc has reinforced how pleased they are with IPC as an acquisition and how much they want us to grow through launch and organic growth.
“I would like to see one launch by the end of the year and then moving quite aggressively forward.”
Although Auton doesn’t envisage any departures, her appointment is likely to cause a shake-up at board level, including a new managing director for the country and leisure group and a successor to weeklies group MD Linda Genower, who resigned this week after 20 years with the company.
Genower ruled herself out as a candidate for the top IPC job early on and made clear her intention to retire months ago. “Linda has been a superb friend and colleague of mine for over 20 years,” said Auton.
Staff describe Auton as an “inspired” choice, if not an obvious one. “Empty vessels make the most noise,” said one insider. “Sylvia is about substance rather than spin. She is hugely focused and will get the basics right. She has great humanity and decency.” Insiders said Auton had great respect for journalists “as long as they deliver” but was not averse to making tough decisions. “Southbank has a culture of high spending and she doesn’t take kindly to people who are prima donnas,” a source added.
Auton said: “Everything but everything flows from the words and pictures on the page.” She added: “You can be sure that New York knows exactly what they are getting in me.”
Auton joined IPC’s marketing department in 1977 and became managing director of the country and leisure group in 1998.
By Ruth Addicott