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Bauer unveils new leadership teams

Bauer Media Group has unveiled its new leadership teams to spearhead its new publishing strategy.

Bauer unveils new leadership teams
Left: Helen Morris; Right: Steve Prentice.

Bauer Media Group has announced new UK print and international digital leadership teams to support its long-term strategic aims. These changes see three senior appointments who will lead its newly unified international digital business and the appointment of co-CEOs in the UK to oversee the existing print business in the UK following current CEO Chris Duncan’s decision to step down later this year.

Bauer Media Group says it will significantly expand its international digital publishing business. To this end, the company will merge all digital areas of global publishing into one single unit. Bauer Media Group added that it has attracted three top tier executives to lead its ambitious growth plans.

The digital business will be headed by Stefan Betzold as chief product marketing officer, Walther Steinhuber as chief product and technology officer and Jan Rudolph as chief content officer digital. All three have decades of experience in the development and establishment of digital business models. Stefan Betzold and Jan Rudolph will start in February, while Walther Steinhuber will begin in April 2024.

Jan Wachtel, president of the Bauer Media Group's global publishing business, explains: "Due to our localised structure, we are currently not making full use of our digital expertise. By merging the divisions, we will unlock new opportunities and better utilise Bauer Media Group’s international scale."

The newly created Global Digital Unit will report directly to publishing president, Jan Wachtel.

Bauer says in his role as chief product marketing officer, Stefan Betzold is responsible for monetising digital reach, introducing new business models to the digital business, and expanding the turnover and profitability of the digital business.

As chief content officer digital, Jan Rudolph is primarily responsible for expanding and optimally addressing digital target groups through customised content within an evolving portfolio.

As chief product and technology officer Walther Steinhuber will be largely responsible for the future digital platform that will consolidate all products.

Jan Wachtel added: "It is a significant achievement to have attracted these three top executives, a clear indication of our appeal in the industry. They are the best experts to build a successful digital business in publishing. They combine decades of experience in the online and media sector and complement each other perfectly. I look forward to working with them."

Bauer Media has also announced the promotion of UK group managing directors Helen Morris and Steve Prentice to Co-CEOs of the existing print business in the UK.

In her new role, Bauer says Helen will have overall responsibility for content ensuring its editorial teams work together effectively to produce the content that its brands are known for. She brings more than 20 years’ experience and joined Bauer Media in 2005. Most recently, she expanded her portfolio as group managing director to include all lifestyle and entertainment brands including Grazia, Empire, MOJO, TV Choice, and Bella among others.

Steve Prentice, meanwhile, will have overall responsibility of operations which includes advertising and sales management and the performance of its print production among others. He returned to Bauer as group managing director for special interest and puzzles in June 2021 having previously spent 15 years with the business including stints as managing director of sport and director of publishing.

Jan Wachtel said: “I’m delighted that we have been able to look inside Bauer to find the ideal candidates to lead our print operations in the UK into the next phase. In Helen and Steve, we have a leadership duo that understand perfectly how to establish the right conditions to continue to deliver products that meet the expectations of our readers. I look forward to working with them.”

Chris Duncan will leave Bauer after four years having played an important role in the development of the business’s strategy.

Jan Wachtel said: “Since I joined the business, Chris has been an invaluable member of the global Publishing leadership team and been a key contributor to the development of the strategy for our business. We thank him for his brilliant work over the last four years and wish him all the best in the next stage of his journey.”

During his time with the business, Bauer Media says its UK publishing has maintained its position as the UK’s bigger consumer magazine publisher and continued to build its reputation for delivering meaningful content to its readers across a variety of sectors and interests. Chris has also been a vocal leader across a number of key industry issues through his work with associations such as the PPA and IPSO.

Chris Duncan said: “It’s been a pleasure to work with Jan and the other leaders across the business, particularly in the last year where we have collaborated so closely to define the best strategy for the future of our publishing business in the UK and internationally. I’ve also been immensely proud of the brilliant way all our people have continued to serve our readers and partners.

“All of this has been made possible by the brilliant talent in our UK leadership team and I’m delighted to hand the reigns of our print business over to Helen and Steve, who I know will ensure Bauer’s print business goes from strength-to-strength.”

The publisher says Chris will now work with Helen and Steve to ensure a smooth transition ahead of his departure later this year.

Chris Duncan: “I’m delighted to hand the reigns of our print business over to Helen and Steve, who I know will ensure Bauer’s print business goes from strength-to-strength.” Supplied by Bauer Media Group.
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