Former Chief Executive Officer, Guardian Media Group
The Guardian is one of the best stories of digital transformation out there, in the industry sector most disrupted by the digital and software revolution and David brings this story to life through a candid and insightful talk.
• Authority on leading through disruption
• Hugely engaging and candid speaker
• Great with Executive audiences
David Pemsel biography
The Guardian went from the ninth biggest UK newspaper to one of the most widely read English language news sites in the world – becoming a beacon for liberal journalism across the globe with over 160 million monthly unique browsers.
Guardian Media Group is wholly owned by The Scott Trust, whose purpose is to ensure that The Guardian exists in perpetuity and that its editorial remains free from commercial or political interference.
Whilst Guardian journalism has gained a huge new audience, the traditional print advertising model of newspapers has declined sharply and the promise of digital ad revenue to replace the old business model almost collapsed under the constant digital disruption and dominance of large technology platforms – leaving a huge question mark over how quality journalism was going to be funded in the digital era.
The Guardian has undergone a remarkable transformation under a three-year business plan that doubled down on its purpose and relationships with its readers. It has gone from a forecast of an operating loss of £78m in 2015, to being a year away from a break even target. All whilst producing some of the most hard-hitting and relevant journalism of our times, from the Windrush investigation, to the Cambridge Analytica Files to the Paradise Papers. The relevance and importance in society of Guardian and Observer journalism has never been greater.
David can share what it’s like to lead in a context of constant change, where the only certainty is disruption. He can talk about the turbulent journey from selling newspapers in the UK to a global free-to-access online news organisation that is a source of hope, inspiration and information for millions around the globe.
David joined GMG in 2011 and was appointed chief commercial officer in 2012. A year later he took on increased accountability in the newly-created role of deputy chief executive, with responsibility for leading commercial operations in the UK, the US and Australia, and integrating them as one global organisation.
In 2015 he was appointed CEO of Guardian Media Group (GMG) taking on the responsibility for for leading the commercial and financial business strategy.
In addition he is Chairman of GMG Ventures, a £42m fund making early stage investments in innovative businesses in the media technology sector. He is also a member of The Scott Trust, the ultimate owner of The Guardian.
Prior to joining GMG, David worked in many senior roles within the media industry, including launching Shine Entertainment in 2000, before becoming Group Marketing Director of ITV plc in 2005.
David is a non-executive director of The British Fashion Council and a voting member of BAFTA.