Friday 23 February 2018

The man behind newspaper publisher Trinity Mirror

Simon Fox started his career in banking with a graduate trainee position at Security Pacific Bank.

Simon Fox started his career in banking (Nicholas Bowman/PA)
Simon Fox started his career in banking (Nicholas Bowman/PA)

By Ben Woods, Press Association Chief City Correspondent

Simon Fox is well acquainted with industries facing digital upheaval.

The media sector veteran swapped the chief executive position at entertainment retailer HMV for the top job at Britain’s biggest regional newspaper publisher Trinity Mirror in 2012.

Both companies have seen their business models turned upside down by the rise of online and the meteoric expansion of tech giants Facebook, Amazon and Google.

Mr Fox started his career in banking, taking a graduate trainee position at Security Pacific Bank before a stint at advisory firm Boston Consulting Group.

His incursion into retail came in 1989 when at 27 years old he founded out-of-town office supplies retailer Office World.

The move proved lucrative. He sold more than 50 stores to US giant Staples for £32.5 million and moved to senior positions at B&Q owner Kingfisher.

His most high-profile challenge came in the shape of HMV, where he was appointed chief executive in 2006.

Confronted by the rise of online shopping and an unwieldy debt pile, Mr Fox faced the tough task of turning around the high street staple’s fortunes.

He struck a £53 million deal to offload bookseller Waterstones to Russian billionaire Alexander Mamut in May 2011 and was behind a drive to sell more technology products – such as iPods and headphones – in HMV stores.

Nearly a year after leaving his post in August 2012, HMV was bought out of administration by turnaround specialist Hilco Capital.

Since taking the reins at Trinity Mirror, Mr Fox has been on the acquisition trail, sealing a £220 million deal to buy regional publisher Local World in October 2015.

The move cemented Trinity Mirror’s position as a regional news giant, helping it to withstand the pressures on print advertising revenues and boosting its presence online.

Mr Fox is a non-executive director of Press Association owner PA Group and previously held the same role at the Guardian Media Group.

Press Association

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