A view from the top
A view from Rupert Howell

A view from the top

I used the No 94 bus for ten years, had a driver for ten years and experienced every type of commute in between. Now, I have the best: by riverboat from Bankside to the Trinity Mirror offices in Canary Wharf - 20 minutes that put me in a good mood and remind me how lucky I am to work in one of the great cities of the world.

This week is all about building on some breakthroughs achieved last week. Trinity Mirror’s share price rose 25 per cent on the back of an interim management statement showing that Simon Fox’s transformation strategy is beginning to deliver results. Lunch with the chairman, David Grigson, is therefore appropriately upbeat!

We also launched people.co.uk to widespread critical acclaim. This week, I am meeting clients and potential partners to try to broaden its reach and secure some more native advertising revenues.

I think this is a fascinating and potentially lucrative development in the digital advertising space; it could be a solution to the old "analogue pounds into digital pennies" problem. To that end, I have meetings with an in-house team developing a new product to improve advertiser returns and an outside partner developing a new e-commerce interface. All very promising.

Then it’s off to a board meeting of the Billington Cartmell Group, where I’m the non-executive chairman. We have put in a new leadership team and restructured the business to great ?effect. You can tell the health of any agency just by walking in; there’s a real buzz. Recent new-business wins such as Sony Mobile’s social media and motors.co.uk mean they are going to have an excellent year.

Next up is my weekly meeting with the group commercial partnerships team, who look after in-paper offers and digital partnerships such as bingo, gaming, fantasy football and e-commerce. They are on target and set for significant growth next year. Others in our marketplace have more developed offerings in this space, so it is a land of opportunities for us. I am amazed at the range of products that our audiences buy from us – from top-end safari holidays to fluffy slippers.

Lunch with my old friend and partner Steve Henry is a chance to reminisce about the "good old days" of HHCL; but then we realise we are sounding old and talk instead about the creative merits of the current batch of Christmas ads and new opportunities for creativity in the digital space. Spending time with Steve always reminds me that, in advertising and the media, creativity and content are at the heart of everything.

Most weeks, I spend at least one day in one of our regional offices. So far, I have visited Glasgow, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Birmingham, Coventry and Cardiff at least once. Next week, it’s Oldham. Much as I eulogised about London earlier, all these UK cities have much to commend them, including the pride and passion that are embodied in our regional titles and the people who run them. It should be obligatory for everyone in our industry to get out of the M25 bubble on a regular basis, not only to see the economic challenges they face but also to see how much they have to offer.

You can tell Christmas is coming because I’ve been out every night this week. So I’m looking forward to a quiet weekend in the country before getting back on the river again.

Rupert Howell is the group transformation director at Trinity Mirror