OLD Media Moves

No shakeup at the Economist

March 26, 2006

John Micklethwaite, the new editor of The Economist, promises no major shakeup at the British-based magazine under his tenure. He had an exclusive interview/profile with the Sunday Telegraph, which described him as a person who bicycles to work and arrives in the newsroom with his pants legs tucked into his socks.

The article, by George Trefgarne, had these points to make:

1. “He is also what you might loosely describe as a conservative. As his books reveal, his own opinions are classically Economist, reflecting the magazine’s origins as a champion of free trade aligned with the Anti-Corn Law League during the heyday of 19th century liberalism. He joined the Economist in 1987 after a brief spell with Chase Manhattan bank.”

2. “The selection process was gruelling. First he had to be interviewed by three directors, led by chairman Sir Bob Wilson (also chairman of BG Group), then by the entire board and finally by the independent trustees, chaired by Sir Campbell Fraser, who own special shares that give them the right to approve the editor.”

3. “Mickelthwaite believes the magazine benefits from its obscure ownership structure. It is still in effect controlled by ancient City families and it is now half-owned by Pearson via the Financial Times, with the balance held by the Rothschilds, the Cadburys and the Schroders and also the staff. Lynn Forester de Rothschild, Sir Evelyn’s second wife, is on the board.”

Read the article here.

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