Magazine publisher Future has hired American digital entrepreneur Jon Steinberg to succeed Zillah Byng-Thorne as chief executive, in a sign of the group’s ambition to build its presence in the US media landscape.
Steinberg, a former BuzzFeed and Daily Mail executive, will replace Byng-Thorne in April after she spent nine years transforming the publisher of Marie Claire and The Week into a digital success story.
“It is a business that I’ve followed closely and long admired for the way it has redefined the media playbook, marrying the best of editorial and technology”, said Steinberg, who has also worked at Google.
Future owns 250 specialist media and magazine brands including GoCompare, TechRadar and Country Life and says its content reaches one in three adults online in the UK and US.
Under Byng-Thorne, the business has transformed from a lossmaking print magazine publisher to a digital media platform that makes roughly a third of its revenue from advertising, a third from subscriptions and sales and a third from directing readers to ecommerce partners.
The company makes about 60 per cent of its revenue in the UK, with the remaining 40 per cent in the US according to its latest annual report, a market in which it is looking to grow. Last year it reported pre-tax profit of £170mn on revenues of £825.4mn.
Steinberg, who was chief operating officer of BuzzFeed between 2012 and 2014, is also the founder of social media news broadcaster Cheddar, which he sold to cable television provider Altice USA for $200mn in 2019 before joining as president of Altice’s news and advertising division.
Richard Huntingford, Future’s chair, said that Steinberg was a “charismatic leader with a deep understanding and passion for media, particularly how technology, creativity and innovation can be harnessed to accelerate growth”.
“As we look to further extend Future’s leadership, particularly in the US, Jon is a natural fit”, he added.
Analysts from Jefferies said that they “anticipate a process of evolution rather than revolution” from Steinberg’s leadership, adding that his knowledge of the US market would be valuable to the company even as he relocates to London to take the job.
Future’s share price was down nearly 2 per cent in late-morning trading to £14.11. The company has lost more than half of its value since its high in August 2021.