Company editor Sam Baker is leaving the magazine after landing a six-figure book deal.
Baker, who has edited the title for five years, has signed a contract to write two novels for Orion. She describes her work as a psychological thriller and was offered the deal on the basis of six chapters.
“I’m very sad to be leaving. I’ve had a fantastic time at Company and I’ve got a fantastic team here,” she said.
The women’s glossy has been very successful under Baker, with sales increasing by 100,000 in the past two years. It recorded its highest circulation of 330,617 in the latest round of ABC figures.
She has also been responsible for the launch of the handbag-sized Shop!, seeing it from flat plan to the printers in just seven weeks. But Baker admitted that the opportunity to return to writing was too good to turn down.
“It’s something that has been in the back of my mind for a while. I’ve been very busy, but it’s something I’ve wanted to do. When the opportunity came along, I had been thinking that I needed a new challenge and here it is. I have missed writing dreadfully.”
Baker said she was willing to stay until a successor was appointed and is keen to oversee the development of Shop!, which was given away with Company as a trial issue in September and is due to launch as a standalone title in the spring.
“I’m prepared to work six months if I need to. I want to make the transition as smooth as possible. We are doing a lot of planning on Shop! at the moment, so I want to make sure that Shop! and Company are in great shape before I go anywhere,” she said.
Justine Southall, the National Magazine Company’s young women’s group publishing director, said: “Sam’s contribution to the success of Company cannot be underestimated.
While I will be very sorry to see her go, both on a personal and professional level, I wish her the best of luck. I have no doubt that having delivered such a fantastic read in Company, whatever Sam produces next will be unputdownable.”
NatMag’s is likely to be inundated with applications for the editor’s chair.
Insiders say it has a list of potential contenders, but there are also several strong internal candidates, including deputy editor Victoria White.
By Sarah Boden