Thursday, 10 January 2008

Inside the mind of the International Herald Tribune's Competition

There's a manager over at the WSJ (Europe). His name is Gert Van Mol and he keeps his own blog

Mostly it is about the sort of management baloney that bores me rigid, but he does occasionally drop in a little nugget about life at the WSJ. Here for example are some tasters:

Perhaps those who work on the commercial side of the International Herald Tribune should keep an eye on his blog.

This post caught my eye:

Newsstand on Square before Milan Train Station. The team of Monocle really did a good job in branding their relatively new magazine (see posters around the newsstand, portraying a women reading a newspaper on the cover -not the WSJE unfortunately!!-). I guess Monocle works with country managers to help them grow the business in clearly defined markets (Milan being a fashion centre seems the right place to have a local country manager). As a matter of comparison, The Wall Street Journal Europe abandoned their network of country managers a few years ago in a cost cutting round by then CEO Rien Van Lent.

I used to work with Rien van Lent at the Dutch financial daily Het Financieele Dagblad - an extremely nice guy and an excellent editor.

However, what on earth possessed Dow Jones to think that this gentle unassuming journalist could take on the business responsibilities of its failing European product, I couldn't tell you, propped up as it was (is?) on the most ridiculous amounts of free copies posing as real circulation,

They ended up 'letting him go'. Last I heard he was going into 'consulting' but that was the last I ever heard.

Anyone know where he is now?

Also: Goldmark did the same thing at the IHT, cutting all the country managers as an easy cost saving, so don't take it so personally and don't blame it on poor old Rien - he was only doing what he was told which was to strip the beast so bare of all costs that someone in NY could have a chance of actually working out how much it cost just to keep the animal alive before deciding how much to spend on it.

In the case of the Bancrofts, cutting those costs no doubt helped Rupert pay such top dollar for such a withered and scrawny international beast.

P.S Just in passing, and on the subject of Monocle: Gert - the reason the team at Monocle did such a really good job is because they have tons of money to spend on POS, unlike you and the IHT. Rupert loves consumer advertising and marketing - check out what he is prepared to spend on marketing on any one of his dailies, so I'd hand off those job offers for now.

P.P.S Here's another question: anyone know how much money Monocle is losing and when it is going to go out of business? Note to Monocle circulation managers: get those CVs off to Rupert.

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