MEDIA HEADLINER: Gucci-clad ’nuclear weapon’ sets sights on new-look Nova - IPC has hired Elaine Foran to resurrect a style classic Anna Griffiths felt the force.

Elaine Foran sweeps into Soho House in a swirl of designer bags, clothes and dangly jewellery. The international publisher of Emap Elan, who is to jump ship and join IPC as the publisher of Nova (Campaign, 26 November), is evidently not someone who chooses to take it easy during her few months of gardening leave.

Elaine Foran sweeps into Soho House in a swirl of designer bags,

clothes and dangly jewellery. The international publisher of Emap Elan,

who is to jump ship and join IPC as the publisher of Nova (Campaign, 26

November), is evidently not someone who chooses to take it easy during

her few months of gardening leave.



’I’m an adrenaline junkie,’ declares Foran, as she drapes herself across

the table and threatens to end up in my notepad unless I sit back and

conserve a bit of personal space. Jonathan Durden, joint partner at New

PHD, vividly describes her as: ’A live wire, a ball of energy and a

cluster of emotions who flicks her hair around. She’s like a Tasmanian

devil.’



Foran’s tough negotiating skills earned her the nickname ’the nuclear

weapon’ at IPC, while her love for fashion and having the ’latest thing’

is legendary. One media observer says: ’She’s the biggest fashion luvvie

in the world. Her whole life is constructed around the next pair of

Gucci shoes.’



Which is why she is probably the perfect hiring for Nova, the style

bible of the 60s and 70s which is to be revived by IPC in the spring

under Foran and the editor, Deborah Bee. Rita Lewis, publisher of the

glossy magazine stable, IPC SouthBank, and Foran’s former boss at Emap

Elan, is rubbing her hands with glee at securing Foran’s services.

Referring to Foran’s tenacity in making a deal, she says: ’She’ll get in

where a draught can’t.’



Foran has furiously pedalled her way up the advertising ranks, after

abandoning a career in physiotherapy. She began as a graduate sales

trainee at The Independent, slipped into a fashion advertising role at

the Evening Standard a year later, before moving to The Express to work

on the now-defunct DX magazine and the Sunday Express magazine. By 1991

she was the group head of display advertising at the Sunday Express and

credited with bringing in a healthy chunk of ad revenue.



Christine Costello, managing director of Pearl & Dean, who was Foran’s

boss at the Express, recalls: ’I remember fighting to keep her on my

team at one point, because she added bite. She could sell anything.’

Foran is definitely not one to take ’no’ for an answer and describes how

she once locked someone from Carat in a boardroom before he was due for

a lunch meeting, only letting him out when he had agreed to go along

with her deal. ’I used to be famous for skipping into Leo Burnett like

Pollyanna and being like Attila the Hun at Carat. The trick is to know

all the objections and have an answer for them,’ says Foran, who is

evidently proud of her track record and reputation.



The world of glossy magazines fell at Foran’s expensively clad feet when

she was headhunted for the ad director’s role on Emap’s New Woman, which

had been acquired the year before from Murdoch Magazines. Shortly

afterwards she was appointed publisher of Elle where she successfully

turned around the magazine’s advertising, bringing in the big designer

names. ’My policy on Elle was to annihilate Marie Claire. The likes of

Gucci and Prada all came to Elle and I’m really proud of that,’ Foran

says.



She is clearly smitten with Nova. Explaining why she’s moved across to

IPC from her globe-trotting role at Elan, she says: ’I’m conscious that

this new job doesn’t look like a progression, but how many people can

say they had the opportunity to launch a magazine that they’ve always

admired? This can really be my baby and something I can put my name to.

It’s exactly the kind of magazine that I want to read.’



Although the precise content of Nova is still shrouded in secrecy, Foran

lets slip that the sales team for the magazine will be a separate entity

to the centralised ad sales division for IPC magazines. She plans to

bring on board the likes of Estee Lauder, Chanel, LVMH, Gucci and Prada.

’Nova, if we do it right, will be a genre in its own right. Vogue is

more establishment. Nova will be about breaking new talent. It’s an

opportunity to rewrite the rule book and take more risks.’



Talk to Foran about anything other than herself or the world she

inhabits and she looks straight through you, patently uninterested. But

this steely focus has evidently been her chief weapon in a competitive

world. She usually gets her way, so it would be unwise to dismiss her

promise: ’There’s no way Nova will fail.’





THE FORAN FILE



1987: The Independent, sales trainee



1988: Evening Standard, fashion and beauty sales executive



1989: Express Newspapers, sales executive



1991: Sunday Express, group head of display advertising



1992: New Woman, advertising director



1993: New Woman & Elle, joint ad director, promoted to publisher of

Elle



1998: Elle & Red, joint publisher



1999: Emap Elan, international publisher



2000: Nova, publisher.



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