Max Wilkinson, one of the architects of the FT Weekend and the creator of “Lunch with the FT,” has died at the age of 78.
Richard Lambert of the Financial Times writes, “As editor of the FT Weekend, he assembled a talented if somewhat ill-disciplined crew, and was always open to new ideas or ways of doing things. In 1994 the advertising department put forward a lucrative but editorially unacceptable idea proposed by an automotive company: a series of celebrity interviews that might just happen to mention the brand of the vehicle in passing. After a series of difficult meetings, Wilkinson saw he would need a Plan B. He came up with ‘Lunch with the F’”, an idea that cut the advertiser out completely but was original enough to see off the forces trying to invade his space. Twenty-six years later it has become as enduring a feature of the paper as the Lex note or Martin Wolf column.
“A couple of years before, he had launched the hugely successful ‘Lunch for a Fiver’ offer, which helped fill restaurants that were struggling in a recession, raised large sums of money for charity and, unlike the UK Chancellor’s recent ‘eat out to help out’ scheme, didn’t cost the taxpayer a penny.”
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