Katie Vanneck-Smith has been named Chief Executive Officer of Hearst UK. The announcement was made by Hearst President and CEO Steven R. Swartz, Hearst Magazines President Debi Chirichella and Hearst Magazines International President Jonathan Wright, to whom Vanneck-Smith will report.
Vanneck-Smith succeeds Simon Horne, who has been with Hearst Magazines International for more than 20 years, most recently as interim CEO of Hearst UK. Previously, he was senior vice president and managing director of the company’s Asia Pacific and Russia businesses.
“Katie is an entrepreneurial leader with experience building and monetising audiences,” Chirichella said. “Her passion for media and profound understanding of clients and customers’ needs in a digital world will enable us to build on Hearst UK’s solid foundation. We thank Simon for his strong leadership, unwavering dedication, and many contributions to our business over the years and wish him the best of luck in his future endeavors.”
Vanneck-Smith joins Hearst from Tortoise Media, a global media outlet that she co-founded in 2018, where she helped pioneer an audio-first membership strategy among other innovations. Prior to that, she was the president and chief customer officer of Dow Jones, where she helped build and lead The Wall Street Journal’s successful online membership-based business.
“Katie is an experienced and inspiring leader, and a lover of print who embraces the opportunities of digital,” Wright said. “She is content, customer, and client-focused to her core with an impressive track record of driving growth in media organisations. I am delighted she will be leading our UK operations and I have every confidence she will bring her inimitable brand of leadership and joy to the business and deliver our next exciting chapter of growth in the market.”
Vanneck-Smith previously worked for Telegraph Media Group and The Times, where she served as chief marketing officer and led the architecture of the newspaper’s early move to paid digital subscriptions. She is responsible for creating the UK’s first news membership brand, Times+.
“I am thrilled to join Hearst Magazines to lead their portfolio of brilliant brands in the UK, many of which I have enjoyed for my whole life,” Vanneck-Smith said. “These are brands that people care about. Their heritage and heart means there is enormous potential for growth and I can’t wait to work with the team to develop new ways to deepen those valuable brand relationships, and to surprise and delight customers, clients and the industry.”
Vanneck-Smith begins her new role on 1 December.