Former Trinity Mirror newspaper MD and Syco CEO Ellis Watson answers a few questions following his appointment as DC Thomson's new managing director of newspapers.
You left Syco last December – what have you been up to in the last year or so?
I was free from the New Year so I got a spine operation out the way, ran the London and Edinburgh marathons, spent a lot of time to see what I wanted to do as my ‘last job’ and had a glorious amount of time with my kids.
Why did you choose to leave such a high profile role?
My wife & children live in Scotland and will always do so; we live amongst some of god’s best work, and we’d never leave as a family. Giving Syco all the time it needed, especially in the US, and coming back to Scotland enough was becoming irreconcilable. Simon was gifted, the team were amazing, working at that end of the entertainment business was a privilege and we had extraordinary success globally, but that doesn’t beat being an incompetent Dad or half decent husband after a while.
Did you wish to return to working within Scottish media especially?
I hadn’t planned on doing so.
Have things changed much in Scottish media to you while you were working in London?
I left when the media was struggling to make its way in the digital revolution. I’ve come back knowing it’s still doing so, but also having been whacked by the consumer recession.
What made you choose DC Thomson as your next step?
Many, many reasons and all of them good.
It’s obviously early days, but do you already have ideas about changes or developments you may wish to consider at the company?
Yes I have, and yes it’s too early to discuss them.
The newspaper industry is currently going through some of the largest developments it has ever seen – what do you believe will be the main challenges that you will focus on at DC Thomson initially?
Having my family get over the shock of seeing me in the evenings.
You’ll be overseeing some of Scotland’s most established newspapers, how well set do you feel they are for the digital age?
We’ve some work to do.
Will you have any involvement in the commercial and comic publishing side of the business?
DC Thomson has amazing assets and will always want to share audiences, readers & good ideas amongst itself & the management – I’m looking forward to playing my part in doing that.
Are you a Beano or Dandy man?
Beano, hands down.