The Daily Telegraph

Shares in publisher Future plunge as chief plans to quit

- By Ben Woods

THE magazine publisher behind The Week and Country Life has lost almost a fifth of its value after it confirmed its star chief executive is preparing to step down.

Future’s investors took flight after the company confirmed preparatio­ns to find a new leader. Current chief Zillah Byng-thorne has expressed wishes to leave the company within the next 18 months, according to Sky News, which first reported the story.

Ms Byng-thorne has overseen the remarkable resurgence of Future from a distressed magazine publisher to a digital media company with a market value of £1.6bn. Shares in the stock market darling fell by nearly a fifth to close at £13.66 yesterday after her planned departure was confirmed.

Richard Huntingfor­d, chairman of Future, has yet to launch a formal succession process, but Ms Byng-thorne is expected to step down next year.

Future said that the company had made it clear in its last year’s annual report that its chief executive succession planning was ongoing.

The company added: “Zillah remains committed to the business and has not resigned, however she has informally indicated that she would like to step down by the end of 2023.”

Ms Byng-thorne has spent nearly a decade at the helm of Future, where she spearheade­d a takeover drive that has included The Week publisher Dennis, the owner of Gocompare and rival publisher

TI Media. The magazines, websites and price comparison businesses swept up in the deal spree have been repurposed as online titles funded by advertisin­g and e-commerce referrals, which accounts for most of its turnover.

The company said last week that the resilience of its business model meant full-year profits were poised to reach the top end of market expectatio­ns.

 ?? ?? Zillah Byng-thorne has overseen the resurgence of Future into a digital media company with a value of £1.6bn
Zillah Byng-thorne has overseen the resurgence of Future into a digital media company with a value of £1.6bn

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