Annette Thomas will take up role at Guardian and Observer parent company in March
The former head of one of the worlds largest specialist publishers has been appointed as the new chief executive of Guardian Media Group with a mission to ensure the business can continue to support world-class journalism in the face of big headwinds in the media sector.
Annette Thomas, who will take up her role at the parent company of the Guardian and the Observer at the start of March, has a background in academic publishing and holds a PhD from Yale University in cell biology and neuroscience.
She began her career as an editor on the science journal Nature before working her way up to run Macmillan Science and Education, one of the worlds largest specialist publishers.
The appointment comes after Guardian News & Media, the companys main subsidiary, recorded a small operating profit for the first time in many years, aided by increased contributions from readers.
The news industry continues to face strong challenges to its business model, with the online advertising market hit by changes to data privacy laws and the continued domination of Google and Facebook.
Neil Berkett, the chair of the GMG board, which made the appointment, said Thomas was well-equipped to deal with the challenges ahead. He said: Our journalism has had a stellar 12 months, and remains world class. Even so, its clear that well continue to face big headwinds in the global media sector in 2020 and beyond.
Her track record is exceptional she has consistently delivered sustainable growth through deep engagement with end-users, championing innovative new business models with more open access to content and data, and building diverse and inclusive management teams.
Thomas was born in Washington DC. She has lived in the UK for the last 25 years, and is married with four children.
She said she wanted to work with the editor-in-chief, Katharine Viner, to ensure Guardian Media Group could continue to finance investment in high-quality, original journalism.
The Guardian brand, its progressive perspective, global reach, and unique ownership structure with its values safeguarded by the Scott Trust are all significant strengths in these challenging times, Thomas said.
The need and appetite for trusted high-quality journalism, grounded in facts, has never been greater. Ive always admired the quality and breadth of the Guardians journalism, and I am looking forward to working with Katharine Viner and this exceptional team to develop a financially sustainable future built upon these values and principles.
After several years as an editor on academic journals, Thomas became managing director of Macmillan-owned Nature Publishing Group in 2000. After rising up the ranks in 2012, she became chief executive of Macmillan Science and Education, staying for four years and seeing through a merger with German publisher Springer.
Thomass most recent job was leading education data business Web of Science in the run-up to its flotation on the stock market. She sits as a trustee on the board of Yale University, while also holding a non-executive role overseeing Cambridge University Press and the Cambridge Assessment exam business.
She will replace the former GMG chief executive David Pemsel, who was appointed to run the Premier League last year only to stand down weeks later. The interim chief executive Anna Bateson, who has been in charge since November, will return to her full-time role as chief customer officer.