Andy Baker, Managing Director, Health Service Journal
1. Tell us a little about your professional background
I started as a management consultant & deal guy but in the last 17 years I have run a variety of digital businesses - a startup for Guardian Media Group, hoovering-up job site acquisitions for Trinity Mirror, Friends & Genes Reunited and most recently Health Service Journal “the BBC of health”.
2. How did you move into your first CEO role?
Guardian Media Group took a huge chance - I had no general management background but was working in the US in the middle of the first internet storm; I think they thought I knew what I was talking about!
3. What industry developments are you watching closely right now and where do you think they are going?
In publishing, it’s still:
- Taking most publishing businesses that were developed in another time, in a broadcast/news world, and restructuring them so that their digital products become tools that deliver answers to specific biz problems.
- Building subscriptions in a "isn’t everything free?" world.
- Pulling all information together for a single customer view…. allows us to see who engages most with us in our various forms without paying, and therefore who should be targeted & cultivated; very easy to talk about, many hard yards to pull off, to automate and to use to drive sales & marketing.
4. What are you excited about at your company?
Health is a huge, fragmented, under-teched industry, with large information needs…. perfect!!
5. Did you get a qualification that really helped you with your career?
I got an MBA. I wouldn’t have worked for Lord Hollick in an M&A role without it, but if you asked me now, I can remember little of the technical learning - I do have a decent international network from it though.
6. What are a couple of your go-to apps right now?
Mine aren’t rocket science - The Economist Expresso has been one of the very few that has made it through to my daily digital habits - so succinct, yet powerful.
7. Do you have any favourite interview questions you like to ask?
Not really - but I have to hear that someone has really thought about what they want, and why we are the right fit - it’s surprising how many people don’t give themselves the time to reflect on that.
Andy Baker is leaving Health Service Journal this July, after six incredible years. With Andy's direction HSJ moved its advertising-dependent business to a subscription model winning awards along the way.