Mirror, mirror on the wall…..Hollinshead is the fairest of them all
Mirror, mirror on the wall who is the fairest of them all?
Step forward one Mark Hollinshead, current managing director of Trinity Mirror’s nationals’ division and Media Week’s tip as replacement for Sly Bailey.
Hollinshead, aesthetically speaking, does not possess the credentials of Bailey: he is a short back and sides man, unlike the snow-white mop hair of Bailey which made her so instantly recognisable, nor perhaps does he possess her charisma.
(Media Week once went to a dinner with Bailey and her top Mirror lieutenants. Her lieutenants fell into reverential silence whenever Bailey spoke, which she did a lot.)
But Hollinshead has got to be a top shout for the job: he knows the Mirror business inside out, courtesy of over 10 years at the publisher, heading up both its not unimportant Scottish operations before moving south to head up operations at the Daily, Sunday Mirror and The People as well.
Above all, Hollinshead is a commercial man, cutting his teeth in the world of media agencies.
Not only does he know the business well, importantly he will likely come a lot cheaper than some external big-ticket candidate (with their CVs spilling over with digital successes) pacifying shareholders angry at high executive pay.
To date, Hollinshead has achieved a fair bit at Trinity Mirror.
It was Hollinshead who drove through the selective price-cutting and editorially changes to the Sunday Mirror which helped it make hay after the closure of the News of the World; the lucrative Mirror Football is his baby too.
Anyway, what is the point in looking externally?
Should Trinity Mirror opt externally, then it will take the new broom six months to familiarise themselves with the business, before they will likely diagnose “more investment in digital”.
I’m not sure Trinity Mirror, like say a Johnson Press, needs a digital supremo at the helm.
Yes, the job involves plate spinning digital and printed operations, but make no mistake about it Trinity Mirror’s national titles still make money and are the spine of the business.
Hollinshead knows this all too well. Any anyway, contrary to press reports, Trinity Mirror is not a basket case.
Trinity Mirror’s problems, broadly speaking, are two-fold: a ballooning pension deficit and a practically insoluble regional press market. Manage these two elephants in the room and Hollinshead will be laughing.
Trinity Mirror reported pre-tax profits of £74m in its last full year, compared to, say, operating losses of £38.8m at Guardian News & Media in its financially year.
The Daily Mirror, its flagship publication, is doing OK, at around 1.12m circulation, as are the other national titles. Should Hollingshead get the job, he will likely be aided by the resurgence in retail advertising which has been flooding out of red-tops of late.
Internally, Daily Mirror editor Richard Wallace could prove a challenge, though Trinity Mirror , I would argue, needs a commercial guy to steer it course through these choppy waters.