How Melbourne’s Peter Yates got to the top at Manhattan’s Hearst magazines
Manhattan-based Australian Peter Yates oversees the branding for Hearst Magazines titles and websites around the globe. “I don’t think magazines are going away,” he says. “Printed magazines are the incubator of ideas.” Trevor Collens
Peter Yates is an advocate for creative visualisation. Thirty-five years ago, as a teenager coming of age on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula, he pinned a snapshot of the jagged New York skyline above his desk and beheld it optimistically.
“It’s kind of unbelievable what you can imagine,” Yates says, now ensconced in his office on the 37th floor of the glittering Hearst Tower in midtown Manhattan. As executive creative director of international branding for Hearst Magazines International (HMI), Yates acts as the principal conductor for the media juggernaut.
It’s a plum role, as lofty as the breathtaking vistas from his window.
HMI, a division of Hearst Corp, publishes 285 magazines and 200 websites in 34 languages across 81 nations. Their sprawling network includes 61 editions of Cosmopolitan, 36 editions of Harper’s Bazaar, 28 editions of Esquire and 12 editions of Good Housekeeping, all of which come under Yates’ purview. In addition, he masterminds the design of all licensed products for the global group, including fragrance, fashion and restaurant concepts for those magazine brands with three-dimensional aspirations.
A team of three, plus boss Peter Yates, review a staggering 3600 pages each month. “We don’t use the word approve,” he says. “We say ‘Beautiful, thanks very much’ or ‘Here are some suggestions…’ Supplied
Compared with some of his expatriate peers, from well-known magazine editors to big-name photographers, Yates may be the most low-profile, high-level Australian in the New York media scene. Is that intentional?
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