Most people in the publishing world are stumbling in today to dig out from a blizzard of e-mail and slowly get back into the groove. Many Hearst employees are finding out that the company they left for New Year’s break could soon be significantly larger as Hearst announced last week that it has entered exclusive negotiations with Lagardère to buy 102 Hachette magazine editions and 50 Web sites outside the French market (rumors of Hearst’s interest in Hachette have swirled since summer and picked up again in early December).
David Carey kicked off his first official day as president of Hearst Magazines with a note to the troops outlining in general terms his plan for the new year, urging "entrepreneurial thinking" and an "end to playing it safe." The full transcript of his note follows below:
I’ve always loved today, the first business day of the new year.
Alan Waxenberg, the great publisher of Good Housekeeping for many years, used the first business day of every year to launch a high-profile, ambitious new platform for that powerful brand. That smart move always stuck with me-people come back from the holidays rested and excited about the new year, and with their minds open to all that will unfold.
We just wrapped up a terrific 2010, and begin the new year with a strong sense of optimism-about the direction of the U.S. economy, about the continued recovery of our traditional businesses, about the new digital paths that are opening for our media, marketing services and fulfillment businesses, and most importantly, about the uniquely creative and passionate individuals who make Hearst Magazines thrive.
And what a way to start 2011. As you may know, last week we announced that we’ve entered into a period of exclusive negotiations with Lagardère to acquire much of its global magazine portfolio, consisting of 102 magazine editions and 50 websites outside of France.
While I can’t comment further at this time, this announcement speaks volumes about our belief in the magazine medium-in print today, plus its many other expressions tomorrow, and in the value of premium content throughout the world.
This potential acquisition underscores how well our company is positioned to take advantage of opportunities across the global media landscape. This was true of our bold, transformational acquisition of iCrossing, which gave Hearst a leading platform in digital marketing services. True of our move into the food category, with our record-shattering rollout of Food Network Magazine.
And this will be proven true time and time again in the next year, as we look to further expand our company, deploying the unique capital base we’re blessed to possess-creative, sales, marketing, technological and financial.
Today is also the first day of my first new year as president of Hearst Magazines, and it was my good fortune to join the company as the media world was acknowledging that Hearst is America’s premier magazine group. That recognition is a direct result of the work done by all of you.
Management changes make headlines, an architectural triumph becomes an instant landmark, but the success of our company depends entirely on the imagination and commitment of the people in our content, services and fulfillment businesses in the more than 100 countries where we operate.
In a time when we have seen competitors falter, you have been steady, energetic and courageous. You’ve welcomed innovation-and presented suggestions for more. Most important of all, you’ve been quick to understand the most fundamental change in 21st-century publishing: We’re no longer only in "the magazine business," as narrowly defined.
There is no longer any division between what we produce on paper and what used to be called "new media." There is only media now, and it moves faster than ever. Our challenge as the industry leader is to stay well ahead of the curve.
Was it intense at Hearst last year? Of course, and it will be again in 2011, perhaps even more so. But your record of success is so strong that I have every confidence that you can handle any challenge. And then some: I believe that we can, together, create new challenges for ourselves.
Here’s a challenge I’d like to propose to you for 2011: Let’s dramatically dial up our entrepreneurial thinking. Let’s put a final stake in the heart of "playing it safe." Let’s move out of our comfort zone. Let’s think of ourselves as inventors and pioneers who just happen to find themselves in a well-funded start-up.
In 2011, we are looking to take prudent risks and make smart bets. But we also crave the idea we haven’t heard before, the wild insight that launches an unanticipated success. Where will these come from? Possibly from the imagination and research of one brilliant individual. But it’s more likely, I suspect, to be the product of collaboration-minds sharing information and ideas that yield a "eureka" moment.
If you haven’t already, I hope you will visit HearstInnovation.com to explore the lively conversations and collaboration happening across the whole corporation. Hearst Innovation encourages a culture of crowdsourcing ideas and sharing knowledge and is our own productive engine for employee-generated entrepreneurship.
Today, success for individuals, magazine brands and all of our businesses that serve marketers or consumers demands a broad mastery of multiple disciplines and approaches-not just specific skill sets, but knowledge of technology, an ability to learn quickly, a willingness to speak up as a leader regardless of job title. For those of you who are creative, curious and confident, 2011 could well represent the greatest opportunity in our recent history.
There are many people on this path with us; some are team members, but many are not. I’m keenly aware of the personal commitment you’ve made to bring Hearst Magazines to this point-long hours in the office, many days on the road, BlackBerrys buzzing every weekend and more. I’m deeply grateful to your families and partners for supporting you as we reinvent our company.
This is the ideal team to take Hearst Magazines to unprecedented success. I can’t wait to get to work today and collaborate with you during what promises to be a thrilling, entrepreneurial and historic 2011.