The Marcus Morris Award

The Marcus Morris Award is the highest accolade in UK magazine publishing and was established by the PPA and endowed by The National Magazine Company in 1990. The award recognises and commemorates the exceptional career and outstanding contribution to the UK magazine industry of the Reverend Marcus Morris OBE.

The Marcus Morris Award honours an individual who has made a significant and longstanding contribution to the magazine publishing business, either through their extraordinary leadership, skill and understanding in unifying the editorial, advertising, circulation and business aspects of magazine publishing into a successful enterprise; or through their notable contributions to the magazine industry as a whole.

The recipient of the PPA Marcus Morris Award receives a silver trophy- a replica of the emblem of the Eagle comic – together with a citation and an honorarium of £1,000.


The Reverend Marcus Morris OBE

Marcus Morris’s publishing career began in 1950 when he launched the incredibly successful Eagle comic. He remained editor of three further comics with Hulton Press until 1959, before moving into editorial management in women's magazines, serving as editor on Housewife.

He was named editorial director of The National Magazine Company in 1960 and became managing director in 1964. During the next two decades, Morris he successfully merged Queen and Harper's Bazaar into Harpers and Queen; launched Cosmopolitan; purchased The Antique Collector and launched Company.

In 1977, together with the Condé Nast Publications, he formed COMAG by combining the two circulation departments. Prior to his retirement in 1984 he was deputy chairman of The National Magazine Company for two years and chairman of COMAG. In 1983 he was awarded the OBE. Morris died on 16 March 1989.


Roll of Honour


2012 - Mark Kelsey

Mark Kelsey joined Reed Business Information 30 years ago as a young MBA graduate in the Marketing Department. Within 10 years he had been appointed to the Board as Managing Director of flagship brand Estates Gazette, pioneering the launch of paid-for data services starting with EGi in 1996, before launching in 2000. Mark was appointed CEO of RBI UK in 2008, taking on the role of Global CEO two years later. Under his leadership, RBI has gone through a radical transformation from being a traditional publisher to becoming a provider of data and information solutions.  As well as high-profile acquisitions such as Accuity and Ascend, Mark also led the sale of earlier this year of totaljobs for £110m. Mark is keen on many sports and thrives on competition, until recently  turning out every game for RBI's soccer team. These days his appearances on the pitch are rare, but his greatest enduring pleasure is when his family are all together. He is a former Board Director of the PPA.

2011 - Peter Phippen

Peter began his career with IPC. In the late ‘80s Peter was asked to join BBC Worldwide to develop its magazine business. The only magazines at that time were Radio Times and The Listener. The latter was soon closed. Radio Times was printed mostly in black and white, was barely profitable, and research suggested that  once the TV listings market was deregulated, about 85% of readers would opt to buy TV Times. First as Publishing Director, and later Managing Director, Peter worked with Nick Brett, then Editor of Radio Times, to set about changing Radio Times as well as developing new lifestyle and specialist magazines. Today, BBC Magazines is one of the UK’s most successful consumer magazine publishers, with a large portfolio of printed magazines, websites and apps, and operates from two locations in the UK, in London and Bristol. The business also has licences or joint ventures in 60 countries around the world. Peter has recently led the sale of a part of the business to Exponent.  Peter also spent three years running the BBC’s commercial activities in North and South America, where, among other things, he oversaw the launch of the very successful cable channel, BBC America. In his spare time, Peter competes in triathlons, plays jazz piano and gives money to his four children.

2010 - Eric Verdon-Roe

Eric Verdon-RoeAfter starting work as an ad salesman at Haymarket in February 1976, Eric became a director four years later and took responsibility for the consumer division in 1990. During this time, Haymarket became market leader in the motoring sector and established itself as a major player in exhibitions and customer publishing. Eric took over as Managing Director of the Haymarket Group in May 2000 and worked with the new Chairman, Michael Heseltine, to expand it both internationally and into the digital arena. After leaving Haymarket in 2009, Eric worked with Peter Phippen and Charles Reed to restructure the PPA, which resulted in the appointment of current CEO Barry McIlheney. Eric recently launched his first non-Haymarket venture – Chelsea AutoLegends – held this autumn at the Royal Hospital Chelsea.

2009 - Keith Jones

Keith JonesHaving joined IPC in 1977 as a graduate, Keith swiftly progressed through the ranks to become publishing director of Chat, where he won PPA Publisher of the Year in 1992. Promoted to managing director of the Specialist Group, Keith then oversaw the launch of Loaded before moving to RBI as CEO in 1995, where he successfully transformed several traditional magazines into data-driven businesses. During his time as chairman of PPA and the PPA postal committee, he also steered the industry through size-based pricing and the threat of zonal pricing.

2008 - Helen Alexander

Helen AlexanderHelen moved to The Economist in 1985 as marketing manager. She became managing director of The Economist Intelligence Unit in 1993 and in 1997 became chief executive of The Economist Group. Helen was chief executive for 11 years until she stepped down in June 2008. She was awarded a CBE for services to publishing in 2004.

2007 - Ian Locks

Ian LocksUnder Ian's leadership, PPA grew from 120 member companies and a turnover of £600,000, to a membership of nearly 300 publishers. He is credited with revolutionising the association at a time of enormous change in the media.

2006 - Sally Cartwright

Sally, director-at-large HELLO!, was key figure in bringing celebrity magazines to the UK. She was commended for: “Building on the tradition of Marcus Morris, bringing a whole new genre of magazines to the UK market based on solid business skills and catching the mood of the moment.”

2005 - Tim Weller

As group chief executive and founder of Incisive Media, Tim demonstrated a passion for business and professional media which saw him grow his business from 13 people in an office with a hole in the roof 10 years ago, to a company with more than 2000 employees. His energy, drive, resilience and will to succeed led to the spectacular growth of Incisive and established the company as a leading player in the business and professional media sector.

2004 - Alan Urry

Alan was commended for his keen understanding of the UK magazine distribution system, combined with a gritty determination to succeed in ensuring that readers get what they want from their magazines. Alan's career in publishing took him from sales and distribution to becoming the managing director of H Bauer, one of the ground-breaking companies in the field of mass-market magazines. Bauer, with Alan at the helm, was one of the key influences in shaping the way magazines are sold in the UK, investing heavily in low cover prices to establish a level of sales and using permanent sale or return to build market position.

2003 - Michael Heseltine

Michael, chairman of the Haymarket Group, was recognised, like the Reverend Marcus Morris, for the importance of offering readers high quality, targeted editorial. He first acquired Man About Town in 1957, relaunching it as the UK's first glossy men's magazine. After Haymarket was born, Michael went on the acquisition trail and launched magazines cuch as Management Today. Following a thirty year political career, he returned to the group as chairman, setting in train an ambitious programme of international investment, and taking the proportion of Haymarket's turnover from outside the UK to over 25%.

2002 - Sly Bailey

Sly was commended for her vision in creating a brand-focused, media neutral business at IPC Media. She recognised that consumers, as well as advertisers, were becoming more sophisticated in their understanding of brands. Under her direction, many IPC brands were expanded across new and complementary media platforms, whilst retaining editorial innovation and excellence as core principles at the heart of the business.

2001 - Terry Mansfield

During Terry's 40 year climb from advertisement representative to managing director of the National Magazine Company, chairman of COMAG and a vice-president of the Hearst Corporation, he exemplified how a nose for business, original thinking and enthusiasm brings success in our industry. Throughout his career Terry has also made it his mission to find the best people and develop talent for the industry.

2000 - John Bird

John is the man behind the publishing phenomenon that is The Big Issue - the magazine sold by homeless people so they can earn an income and regain their self esteem. Following the launch of The Big Issue in the UK in 1991, 'street publishing' now spans the globe and The Big Issue has expanded into Western and Eastern Europe, South Africa, Australia and America.

1999 - Tony Elliott

Tony can be described as one of the originators of the phenomenon of developing a magazine title into a recognisable international brand. He single-handedly launched Time Out in 1968, with £70, during a summer vacation from Keele University. Thirty years on, the Time Out Group has an annual turnover of more than £20 million.

1998 - Michael Potter

Michael launched Redwood Publishing with Christopher Ward in 1982. Twenty years later the company employs 260 staff and has a turnover of more than £50 million. "He is largely responsible for the growth of contract publishing", said Christopher Ward, "and has personally launched more than 50 magazines….If he has any regrets, I suspect it is that he hasn't launched twice the number".

1997 - John Brown

John has, as managing director of John Brown Publishing, embodied much of what magazine publishing is about in the 1990s. His pioneering approach has been watched by others and then emulated, making him a worthy recipient of the Marcus Morris Award.

1996 - Graham Sherren and Anthony Nares

Graham and the late Anthony Nares have made an immeasurable contribution to the face of business magazine publishing in the UK. Together they formed a powerful partnership, blending unique creative and business acumen with an entrepreneurial spirit.


1995 - Joan Barrell

Joan has been behind the success stories of some of the key titles in UK magazine publishing. She was commended for combining obvious commercial expertise with a detailed understanding of the editorial product. Joan was a board member of The National Magazine Company and an active ambassador for magazines within the UK advertising industry.

1994 - John Mellon

John's vision in steering IPC Magazines through a decade of change were commended by the PPA board. Having prepared the company for the challenges to it's core weeklies' business, he used his vision and courage to transform IPC's share of the TV listings market, before moving on to bring the same set of high standards to Reed Business Publishing.

1993 - David Arculus and Robin Miller

The PPA board felt it was impossible to separate the contributions which David Arculus and Robin Miller had made to the UK publishing industry through their years at the helm of EMAP. They created an entrepreneurial climate for the company which has enabled it to grow into a formidable publishing empire.

1992 - Chris Anderson

The founder of Future Publishing has been hailed as one of the great entrepreneurs of the industry. He built the company from its roots in 1985 into a key player, introducing covermounts and being among the first to go to the Macintosh page make-up while still realising the importance of getting the editorial product right.

1991 - Felix Dennis

Innovation, the readiness to take risks, and an undaunted enthusiasm for magazine publishing, are just some of the qualities which Felix shares with Marcus Morris. From early beginnings on Oz he pioneered microcomputer publishing on both sides of the Atlantic.

1990 - Nick Logan

Publishing for the teenage market was the outstanding success story of the 1980s and Nick has been attributed as the man behind it. He had the idea for the runaway success story which Smash Hits was to become during the 1980s, and followed this with the mould-breaking The Face.


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