New chief operating officer for Future as it looks to grow globally following spate of acquisitions

September 16, 2022

Bath media group Future has appointed an experienced sector figure as chief operating officer to support its global expansion as it continues to reap the rewards of a raft of recent takeovers.

Claire Blunt, pictured, currently chief advertising officer and CEO of international at Guardian Media Group, will take up her new role at Future on 7 November.  

Her appointment was announced by the highly acquisitive group, whose titles range from Country Life and Classic Rock to Decanter and Total Film, as it also told shareholders that an encouraging trading performance so far this year was expected to lift its annual adjusted operating profits to the top end of market expectations of between £266.4m to £270.7m.

In a pre-close full-year trading update, Future said it had continued the encouraging performance set out in its June trading update.

The group, which also owns the Go Compare insurance price comparison website, said it had seen a return to organic audience growth in the second half combined with continued digital advertising growth and an improving trend in affiliates.

This, it said, underpinned the resilience of its diversified business model.

Operating leverage and cash conversion remained strong, with continued deleveraging following the reported $100m (£82m) acquisition of Who What Wear, the leading digital-only women’s lifestyle publisher based in the US.

That deal put Future on track to hit its target of reaching one in two US users online.

CEO Zillah Byng-Thorne said: “We are pleased to be reporting another period of good progress.

“Against the backdrop of a challenging macro environment, our continued strong performance is a testament to the diversified nature of valuable audiences, specialist content verticals and monetisation routes coupled with a relentless focus on execution.”

Ms Byng-Thorne also said she was delighted with Claire Blunt’s appointment.

“Claire holds extensive experience in senior roles at both The Guardian and Hearst, as well as in the retail sector, meaning she is a great fit for our business and will contribute a wealth of vital knowledge to support our continued success and global expansion,” she added.

Before joining GMG last January, Claire Blunt spent seven years at Hearst, latterly as chief financial, operations, and data officer for Hearst Europe.

She also held a number of senior roles in retail and consumer businesses earlier in her career.

She said: “I am absolutely thrilled to be joining Future, a business I have long admired and respected.

“I am very much looking forward to working with such a talented team and to take on the exciting and key role of COO. I can’t wait to get started on helping to execute Future’s strategy and to be a part of the future of Future.”

Future’s acquisitions over recent years have included the £300m takeover publishing group Dennis, which added another 12 titles to its stable, including The Week and Science & Nature, GoCo, the firm behind Go Compare insurance, which it bought for £594m, and TI Media, which added 40 titles including Horse & Hound, Woman & Home and Wallpaper, for £140m.


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