I have been a leader of several iconic cultural brands, responsible for all aspects of strategic and operational management, and most importantly creating collaborative teams and inspiring company cultures.
This is a summary of my career:
Samuel French Limited – Managing Director 2013 -2019
World renowned dramatic publisher and performance licensing company.
I led a turnaround of the UK arm of the long-established specialist theatre company, delivering a comprehensive modernisation program including recruiting a new leadership team, defining a clear growth strategy, installing new systems, streamlining costs and transforming culture.
- EBITDA turned from a loss to a profit of 13% of revenue within three years.
- Reduced staff numbers by 20% while increasing revenue and profits.
- Restructured organisation and created an engaged culture; built a professional team, opened up communications, introduced new remuneration and appraisal systems. Achieved outstanding ratings in annual employee satisfaction survey.
- Redefined acquisition strategy to sign emerging playwrights and new British musicals. Published 8 new award-winning authors at 2018 Edinburgh Festival. Won rights to West End shows Everybody?s Talking about Jamie, Six, and The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole.
- Rationalised excess inventory and established print-on-demand production and direct-to-customer order fulfilment.
- Updated brand and product design, reissuing top 400 titles in new formats.
- Launched new website; implemented new global accounting, licensing and CRM systems in UK business.
- Negotiated favourable exit from an uncommercial property and moved team to modern new office.
- Launched innovative ePlay sales and subscription platform.
- Built the industry’s leading marketing department.
- Opened a new Samuel French bookshop in the iconic Royal Court theatre in London.
Lonely Planet Travel Publishers – Managing Director, EMEA
The world’s leading publisher of travel guides in print and digital media
I led a regional team of 45 in London of the global travel publisher with P&L responsibility for all commercial activity in Europe, Middle East and Africa. I was responsible for developing and implementing strategies for English language book sales for UK and Export markets, commissioning of European publishing, Foreign Rights revenues from European partner publishers, B2B content licensing, and regional e-commerce. I was also responsible for driving growth and innovation through licensing partnerships with parent company, BBC Worldwide, including branded magazine, merchandise, and apps.
I am particularly proud of the success of my Lonely Planet team, where I created a strong senior leadership team, improved staff performance through effective communication, engagement and cultural management, and spearheaded a change management program to restructure the business.
- Delivered EMEA profit contribution 19% ahead of budget in 2011.
- Bucked the trend and grew revenues and market share for LP print business in EMEA by 3% while overall market for travel guides declined by 10%.
- Developed and launched new products and channels, establishing LP at the forefront of digital innovation in the travel market (new guidebook series, children?s publishing, apps, eBooks, iBooks, online, social media, gaming).
- Expanded foreign rights income with all publishing partners and secured new partners to launch LP in Brazil and Russia.
- Built and led effective senior leadership team aligned behind a clear strategy with good communication.
- Improved staff performance through effective communications and engagement, enhanced rewards, focus on training and development, affirmation of LP?s unique culture.
- Successfully spearheaded change management programme to implement regional business restructure.
ExpressReads eBook start-up – Chairman
An eBook rental and subscription platform
As Chairman of a digital start-up I guided the company to launch an innovative new platform in the global eBook market. The Express Reads Platform is a browser-based technology with an eBook store and eReader that allows readers to rent and/or buy eBooks across a range of desktop and mobile devices.
The original concept for Express Reads was to offer consumers a subscription service for eBooks similar to the platforms available for music or TV and film. Despite our securing support from many independent publishers for this new commercial model, the world’s largest book publishers did not wish to include their front-list titles in a consumer subscription service.
We decided therefore to pivot the focus of the business to offer a white-label eBook sales and subscription platform to individual publishing businesses. Our technology now underpins Samuel French’s innovative eReading service for plays, known as Abbott.
My experience working with Express Reads has provided me with insight into the challenges of early-stage start-ups, including strategic planning, fundraising, marketing and management.
Stanfords Maps & Travel Books – Managing Director
Renowned market leading retailer with high street stores as well as online and B2B channels
I was MD of the UK’s pre-eminent travel bookseller , with full responsibility for all corporate affairs and commercial operations. I defined strategy and led the business development of our city-centre stores in London and Bristol, as well as our e-commerce web site, and our B2B mapping division based in Manchester.
- Expanded and upgraded Stanfords’ retail business, with enlargement and refurbishment of London flagship store and launch of new retail outlets in Bristol and Manchester, as well as concession stores with British Airways and the English Tourist Board.
- Created and retained a loyal and experienced management team, committed to the business objectives and ethos, and driven by a passion and pride in the brand.
- Formulated e-commerce strategy to showcase and retail Stanfords? unique product range and travel content.
- Devised digital strategy for the distribution of geographic information to the land and property sector and expanded Stanfords? share of the business map market.
- Published original maps, stationery and classic travel writing under the Stanfords? branding.
- Launched Stanfords? annual Travel Lecture series at the Royal Geographical Society, with travel writers such as Michael Palin, Bill Bryson, Ranulph Fiennes and many more.
Edwards Books & Art, Toronto, Canada – Shop Manager
I was the manager of a specialist, quality bookshop in Toronto, which had a reputation for its range on art and literature.
Professional Memberships & Training:
Memberships: The Book Society ; UK Theatre, The National Theatre, The Almeida Theatre, The Young Vic Theatre, The Royal Court Theatre.
Training: Management Essentials (BBCW); Executive Coaching; Leadership; Change Management (EWT) ; Media Training (Luther Pendragon)
Writing, Lecturing, Awards
I have also been a freelance writer, publishing features on travel, maps and books in The Guardian, The Independent, the Traveller’s Handbook, and The Bookseller
I have also Lectured at Book House Training Centre on bookselling and publishing, and presented at many trade conferences.
I have been a judge for a number of Literary Awards, including the Thomas Cook Travel Book Award on several occasions; the Whitbread Biography Award; the Independent on Sunday Travel Writing Award; and for the British Guild of Travel Writers Annual Award
Judge of the CAMEO Page to Stage Awards – 2017-2019