My Media Week: Anna Jones

Anna Jones: chief executive officer at Hearst Magazines UK
Anna Jones: chief executive officer at Hearst Magazines UK

This week, Anna Jones, chief executive officer at Hearst Magazines UK, speaks at the PPA Festival, mentors at WACL's Gather, champions creative industries and meets the Queen.


My day starts early. I've got two young children so I'm usually up at the crack of dawn with one, or both of them.

My week kicks off with a session with our colleagues from Hearst Magazines US, who talks to our senior commercial team about recent successes in the US market and some initiatives we are collaborating on.

Mondays are all about catching up with the senior leadership team. First up, Ella Dolphin, Hearst's group commercial director and Reid Holland, our circulation and marketing director, to discuss our weekly performance. Both advertising and circulation are looking strong, which is a good start to the week.

This is swiftly followed by a meeting with the tireless Michael Rowley, our MD of brands, to discuss all the changes we've got going on in the business. As with all media businesses we are constantly evolving and with 25 brands to cover we always have a lot to talk about.

Next is Lisa Quinn, our new director of communications, to discuss how we are rolling out our new corporate branding. We have just updated and honed our logo and commercial product suite and want to ensure we communicate this effectively to all our teams internally and externally and to all our clients and partners.

I end the day with the team from Campaign and MediaWeek coming in for a glass of wine and a chat about what's coming up at Hearst and key industry news.


I have breakfast with an impressive events entrepreneur to talk about how we can build our growing events business even more quickly. 

Then I met with our HR director, Surinder Simmons, to talk about scheduling our next talent breakfast.

We do them regularly to get different people from around the business to talk about how they feel things are going and what we should be doing better.

We have some really great people and I always find them extremely inspiring. Plus we often come up with new ideas or better ways of doing things.

Next is a meeting with our finance team to talk about doing our five-year plan for the Hearst Corporation. Five years certainly feels like a very long time in the world of media.

In the afternoon, I attend the WACL Gather event to champion women coming up through the industry. I run several speed mentoring sessions with  delegates on topics ranging from how to get your voice heard in a big organisation, to are you pre-programmed to get to the top, or can you learn how to?

It’s a really inspiring afternoon and I also get to catch up with some old friends and contacts – the lovely Sara Cremer CEO of Redwood, Pippa Glucklich CEO of Starcom and the dynamic Mediacom duo Claudine Collins and Karen Blackett.

I leave work on time to head home to meet with my sister and her three kids who have just arrived from New Zealand. Five kids under eight mixed with jet lag and a glass of fizz to celebrate their arrival, make for a chaotic evening.


Unusually for me, I don't have any client breakfasts this week. Instead, I spend the morning catching up on emails and news from Campaign, Media Week and Marketing – there is so much going on in the industry right now it's hard to keep up.

In the afternoon I am lucky enough to attend the Queen’s Garden Party at Buckingham Palace. What a fabulous, truly British day – like a big, glamorous country wedding but with all eyes on an iconic octogenarian rather than a blushing bride. I come away feeling very patriotic.

I head home to get my children to bed, before spending the evening reading board papers for my first Creative Industries Federation Board meeting and preparing for the CEO panel at the PPA Festival.


A 7am start today, UAL in Kings Cross to meet the existing and newly appointed Creative Industries Federation Board members.

It is my first board meeting, and I am made to feel very welcome by the indefatigable John Kampfner, chief executive, the amazing Sir John Sorrell, chairman, as well as founder board members Tessa Ross and Tony Hall. 

We spend the meeting discussing the next phase of development for this hugely important body. The creative industries in the UK contribute around £80bn and employ almost two million people, so it's high time we spoke with a united voice.

Our industry needs to be recognised in the same way as others like telecoms or financial services, as vital to the vibrancy and growth potential of UK PLC. 

After this it is on to the PPA Festival where the organising team has done a fantastic job of curating a vibrant and inspiring event that the industry can be proud of.

I am on straight after the fabulous Sue Todd, the CEO of our new marketing body, Magnetic, along with fellow CEO's Nicholas Coleridge from Condé Nast, Paul Keenan from Bauer and Marcus Rich from Time Inc.

We answer questions from Barry McIlheney, CEO of the PPA and from the audience on how our businesses are shaping up and how we see the industry developing.

There is a great vibe and a good deal of straight talking. I see [Campaign’s head of media and editor of MediaWeek] Arif Durrani in the front row furiously scribbling.

After work, I meet the ever lively Dom Williams from Dentsu Aegis for a drink to catch up on some big partnerships we have in the offing and plans for Cannes Lions.


This morning starts with an early conference call with all the CEOs from the Hearst magazine companies worldwide updating on business and sharing on key projects. There is a big focus on our global brands Elle, Cosmopolitan and Harper's Bazaar with lots of interesting ideas being worked on.

I then have a business update with the Good Housekeeping team to review how we are doing with the Good Housekeeping Institute – our recently launched product testing service and facility in the heart of Soho. Early signs are positive so it's now about building momentum and letting more customers and brands know what we can do for them.

After an indigestion-inducing sandwich eaten at my desk I visit Grant Millar and his team at Zenith Optimedia to talk business and update him on our upcoming plans.

The afternoon ends with a call with Lee Wilkinson, strategy & product director, who's at Hearst Tower this week working with our digital team in New York on our development plans.

The good news is that we've just hit 42 in the Comscore ranking of the largest digital networks in the UK.

The week ends before I head off for the long weekend with a call to run through plans for the Asda magazine team who are joining us in two weeks time – we can't wait.

The lowdown

Age: 40
Favourite media: Excluding magazine brands it's currently the Evening Standard and Netflix
My biggest inspiration: I'd have to say my plate-spinning husband who is building a high-end furniture brand at a phenomenal pace
Dream job: This one. If not, Angel Investor
Not a lot of people know this about me... I'm half Danish, which is handy for wading through series of The Bridge and The Killing at pace

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