Sly Bailey is not the only dynamic blonde at IPC. While much has
been written about the company’s incoming chief executive, the less
high-profile Georgina Crace shares many qualities with her new boss. She
has arguably one of the biggest jobs in UK advertising - certainly the
broadest in the magazine sector.
Appointed a year ago as IPC’s first group ad sales director, Crace is
responsible for delivering the ad sales budgets of the company’s 97
magazines, which in total exceeded pounds 100 million last year.
On taking up the position, she went out into the market to discover just
what key customers thought of IPC. ’After 50 meetings, it was clear that
we had to become more customer focused and more accessible,’ Crace
A year into the job, she has initiated two major reforms to IPC’s
unwieldy advertising sales structure. The first was the formation of IPC
Solutions, which offers advertorial, sponsorship and insert
opportunities across the whole portfolio. The second was to hand
responsibility for IPC’s 12 largest clients to a central sales unit with
the authority to sell group deals across all the magazine and online
Driving through changes in such an elephantine organisation - with so
many sensitive feet to tread on - can’t have been easy. Crace admits it
was hard work getting everybody on board.
’I learned early on that it wasn’t just about strong leadership, with me
putting down a flag and then leading everyone to it,’ she confesses.
Instead, she spent time encouraging the teams to come around to her way
of thinking. Crace achieved this by locking 35 senior ad managers in a
hotel for three days. They soon accepted her vision of the future, she
says, chuckling at the memory.
But how does she stay on top of nearly 100 magazines in such disparate
markets? ’The biggest challenge in this job is getting the balance right
between the depth of my involvement and the breadth of the portfolio,’
she says. ’I try to ensure best practice. It’s almost like a sanity
check where I make sure that we’re not doing something in one area that
makes no sense in another.’
Crace is an unashamed Essex girl who grew up in Chigwell, went to school
in Loughton and spent her evenings on the dancefloor at the Epping
Forest Country Club. Did she wear white stilettos? ’Of course - I’m an
After graduating in biology from York University, Crace wrote ’an
assertive letter’ to The Daily Express - the paper her parents read -
asking for a job. Stan Myerson, now managing director at Northern &
Shell, offered her a post as a sales executive on the Sunday Express
Eight years later, she had risen to ad controller of The Daily Express.
She says she moved to IPC because she needed a new challenge, not
because she was attracted to the glamour of the glossies. ’I’m not a
Gucci two shoes,’ she insists. ’I wouldn’t have joined IPC if I’d
thought it was going to be like Ab Fab.’
Sly Bailey (then Sly Grice), who was managing classified and weeklies,
interviewed Crace for the job of group advertising sales director at IPC
Southbank. Maybe Sly saw something of herself in the person sitting
opposite her. And Crace would some day like to follow Bailey into a
general management role, preferably at IPC.
CRACE ON DRIVE
Determined and driven, Georgina Crace hates tardiness and apathy.
’People who lack commitment, conviction and drive make me mad,’ she
admits. Her PA says: ’If Georgina’s ready to rock and you’re not,
there’ll be trouble.’