A Message from Tim Brooks, Chair of PPA Business
We are very pleased to welcome Tim Brooks, former CEO of BMJ, as the new Chair of the PPA Business Board, the committee that drives activity for the PPA's Business Media members. In this article, Tim explains why he took on the role, and why connecting with each other is so valuable for companies in this rapidly-evolving, diverse sector.
PPA Business members’ companies are undergoing unprecedented change. This is not a process with an end; there’s no guidebook you can buy to tell you where you should head; and events are moving faster and more unpredictably than at any time in the near-40 years I’ve been involved in publishing.
What are these companies? ‘Publishers’ increasingly seems like a reductive or dated label. Some would foreground face-to-face activities as their key contribution to their sector(s). Others would describe themselves as data businesses. All would place technology and its exploitation close to the heart of their business. More of us are active internationally. And print, once the default route to market, is now – in the markets where it remains effective – part of a multi-platform mix.
Whatever the label and the revenue mix, members’ businesses thrive only by doing what B2B publishers have always done: providing timely and accurate information, unavailable elsewhere, that allows markets to function efficiently, and connects the players within those markets. PPA Business will flourish by staying true to its purpose: to provide a forum where members can share ideas and experiences, debate common issues, and monitor exogenous factors such as legislation, regulation and politics. With all our businesses beset by momentous and unprecedented levels of change, it has never been more important to exchange thoughts and ideas. Nobody has definitive answers; we can all learn from each other.
When I stepped down from the CEO role at BMJ at the end of 2016, I reflected that one of the things I’d miss would be the PPA Business board meetings. I also reflected that we’d dropped PPA Chief Exec Barry McIlheney right in it, by all standing well back when volunteers were called for to chair those meetings, meaning he’d taken the chair himself. One of my reasons for ending full-time work was to give myself (and my family) the gift of time; it becomes my choice where and how to spend it. In defiance of the received wisdom that ‘if you want a job doing well, give it to a busy person’, I suggested to Barry that he might like that particular slice of time back, and I’d happily step into his shoes. (Let the record show, he did not put up too much of a fight).
I believe in the value of the work of a vigorous association such as the PPA. It is only ever as good as its members and its meetings; my aim as PPA Business Chair is to help those members, and the excellent PPA executives, ensure that our meetings – at every level of management, from the Business Board down – create knowledge and value and help us all to thrive.
Chair, PPA Business
A journalist by training, Tim fell into publishing when he launched his own magazine business in 1985. Subsequently he served on the boards of Emap Business Communications, IPC Media, Time Inc South Pacific, and Guardian Media Group, before joining BMJ as CEO in October 2012. He has managed media properties as diverse as the Guardian, InStyle, and New Civil Engineer. Tim serves on the UK Cabinet Office Digital Advisory Board, and the British Library Advisory Council. He is chairman of NLA media access Ltd, the company that manages copyright licensing on behalf of UK national and regional newspapers and consumer magazines. He was Visiting Fellow in Strategy at London Business School, 2011-12.
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