An announcement is expected this week. He will take over from Anna Jones, the chief executive since 2014, who is leaving to co-found AllBright, an investment firm that backs female-led businesses.
Wildman has run Trinity Mirror’s advertising sales operation since 2014 and brings experience from outside publishing. He was previously UK managing director of Yahoo and worked at IDS, the TV sales house.
Hearst, the publisher of Good Housekeeping, Harper's Bazaar, Elle and Esquire, is thought to be keen to drive digital transformation after reporting a £5.4m loss and a 4.8% drop in sales to £282m, according to its most recent annual accounts.
David Carey, the global boss of Hearst Magazines, told Campaign last month that "a much more ambitious acquisition strategy" should be a priority for its next UK chief executive.
He said at the time that Jones’ successor had three tasks. First, make sure "the current portfolio of titles is optimised", potentially by closing more titles. Second, drive growth in print and digital, including more brand content partnerships. Third, make acquisitions and he promised the UK had been "allocated for capital".
During Wildman’s time at Trinity Mirror, it bought Local World for £220m and won News Brand Sales Team of the Year at the 2016 Campaign Media Awards.
It is rumoured Hearst UK approached a number of candidates outside the magazine industry.
Hearst declined to comment.