Fru Hazlitt always maintained that she had the best job in UK
media. So why is the assertive 36-year-old quitting Capital Radio to
sell Yahoo! across Europe?
’Life without drama is pointless,’ says Hazlitt, a former actress who
once cherished dreams of becoming the next Grace Kelly. ’I’m not a
maintenance person. I don’t want to look after an existing structure, I
want the nightmare of a hard sell, a crisis that I can solve.’
As the newly appointed head of Yahoo!’s European sales operations,
Hazlitt may well face the challenge she desires. She will stay at
Capital for the next six months, but she’s already thinking through her
new sales pitch: technology made simple.
’Yahoo! was keen to recruit someone from a radio background because
radio people understand how to sell and not just take orders. People
didn’t understand radio at first - now it’s the same with the internet
I want sell the product, not Yahoo!.’
Hazlitt still has plenty of affection for Capital and she’s been a
faithful listener since the age of 12. But with six years of service
under her belt and three different jobs within the company - moving from
agency sales group head to head of client sales and finally to sales
director - maybe it’s time to move on to a new stage.
’I would never have left the company for another media owner comparable
to Capital, but Yahoo! is still very young in Europe. I like to make
things happen from the start, and you can’t do that with many media
And, of course, it can hardly be a coincidence that she’ll be working
alongside Martina King, managing director of UK and Ireland at Yahoo!,
who is another ex-Capital Radio employee.
Whatever the background to her appointment, Hazlitt certainly seems
tough enough to take the task head-on. And despite her commanding
personality, she’s also extremely approachable. One of Hazlitt’s major
assets is her ability to make clients feel comfortable, a skill she
intends to put to full use in her new role.
’There’s a lot of mythology surrounding new technology and its
complexities,’ she admits, but she reveals her intention to cut through
all that. ’I know the news of my new position will make some people
laugh, but those who truly understand the technology have lost touch
with how to sell the web as a product.’
Hazlitt is also excited about the prospect of an international
lifestyle. She is looking forward to criss-crossing Europe as she finds
ways of linking together Yahoo!’s international sales operations.
’People are always cynical about pan-European deals because everyone
always thinks their own country does things best, but I want to learn
how each country operates.’
Once Hazlitt has her feet under the table, she will hand-pick a small
sales team to work directly with her, while country managers throughout
Europe will also be reporting to her.
’That gives me the chance to concentrate on strategy,’ she says. ’I want
to turn national advertising into international campaigns on the net.
The world is getting smaller thanks to the web and I want to be part of
Hazlitt on switching media
’Someone sent me an e-mail that read ’dot.com my arse’ because I’m not
known for my love of anything to do with IT. But there are plenty of
senior marketers out there who have been in the business for more than
20 years and who are now confronted by a product that their 21-year-old
juniors know more about than they do. I intend to answer the questions
that those people don’t dare ask.’