Business Irish

Friday 22 September 2017

Where are they now: Stephen Quinn

Harry Leech

FEW in Ireland had heard of Stephen Quinn, publisher of Vogue, until it was revealed in 2004 that his wife Kimberly was having an affair with the then British home secretary David Blunkett. At the time, Quinn had held the top job in British magazine publishing for more than a decade.

Born in 1943, Quinn's first job was selling ads in the Belfast Telegraph. He moved to London in the Sixties: "I just came for work. I grew up in Kilkenny in what is now termed the 'hungry Fifties' when there weren't any jobs."

Quinn worked in ad sales at various magazine titles before he was appointed as publisher of Harper & Queens in 1981. After seven successful years in charge, he left to launch GQ.

While Vogue was a success before Quinn arrived in 1991, he has turned it into a money-making machine for Conde Nast. Circulation is up 15 per cent, but more importantly advertising is up 50 per cent to over 2,000 pages per year.

Press coverage of his wife's affair was distressing for the media-shy publisher, as Blunkett publicly said he fathered one of Kimberly's sons.

In a rare comment on the matter, Quinn showed resilience and wit: "I will not draw a distinction between biological and non-biological. We are not buying Persil or Daz." The couple reconciled and are still together.

Quinn has said that he intends to retire in 2010, as he turns 67 later this year. However, with no obvious successor, he looks set to put in "a 24-carat-gold performance" at Vogue for some time to come.

Sunday Independent

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