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"senator george hearst" Discussed on KindredCast: Insights From Dealmakers & Thought Leaders
"Tree CO are able or cough to discuss his unique perspectives at the helm of the hundred thirty two year old family run media powerhouse conversation ranges from Hearst, prescient move into business media, and services to swertz, his well, regarded personal style, which she describes as IBM salesman. Circa, nineteen sixty tune into here how Steve and his colleagues are writing the next chapter of this multi generational juggernaut. It is my pleasure to be sitting here with the president and CEO of the Hearst corporation. Mr. Stephen source, thank you very much for being here. Thanks for having me. It is one hundred thirty year history hearse has grown to own conic print and digital brands like bizarre. L cosmopolitan, the San Francisco, Chronicle and more. They also have steaks and Amy ESPN and owned companies in the business information sector like Fitch Ratings was Steve at its two thousand thirteen and in senior positions for decades prior Hearst, which starred as a newspaper business now trousers, all areas of media, finance and business. Steve has one of the more unique executive this in the world as a leader of a very influential mass media company that controls acids of legacy and new media as well. Leading business information conglomerate and doing it as a private company. Steve, welcome. Thank you for being here with us on Kidger cast, thank you hearses one of those companies that I've talked internally about being. Model like it'd be so bold for how to really build a proper family. Run business. Let me just say that. I hope you and I can get together. When we celebrate the hundred and thirty second birthday of Lyon, tree. Thank you very much. If we get to the thirty second birthday lines of you happy to start. You know, we're only seven years in the making so far, but Hearst is a unique company. So tell me why, or how it is to work at a private family owned business. That's generational nature. I think every company is unique in their own way. I think some of the things that said as part I mean, we are a hundred and thirty two years old. We had a very dynamic founder William Randolph Hearst to was constantly challenging the business side to look for the next thing that made sense in the context of a media company, you know, here's someone who was born fabulously wealthy, because his father was one of the most successful miners in the great gold and silver, rush. Senator George Hearst. So he didn't really even have to work, but he went right into the newspaper business because he wanted to make a difference. He bought afternoon newspapers because he wanted to serve. The common man, and that the working man's paper was the afternoon paper, but he pushed us into magazines. He pushed us into radio before he died. He lived a very long life. He bought one of the first television stations and nineteen forty eight so he established our culture at our place of pushing beyond your comfort zone to look for new areas of growth and innovation. And then we had another icon, ick leader, my predecessor Frank Vanik ran the company for almost thirty years, and he pushed us much more into broadcast television and into cable television and got us going in what we call business media, which are companies like fetch. And so, yes, we're privately held we're actually owned by trust. The fact is, they're both management trustees and family trustees that trustees tend to be lifetime appointments. So we have people who keep a long relationship with the company it reinforces, the culture, reinforces the history, I think all of that. Makes it a relatively unique place to work, but there's something about the culture or maybe the charter, or even the trustees that encourage hurston the company and yourself as chief executive to put more money into the company for growth and innovation and not just to manage the assets of old. I really think it starts with the founder and I think that again, because we've had this trustee system, the keeps executives and family members with a long direct relationship with the company, I think that's how these things get passed on, and they don't get lost one of the shame of public companies, people reach a certain age. And then they're out there not only out as CEO or chairman, but they go off the board. One of the things that I think, helps us is that we just have this history that we're supposed to keep pushing we're not just building the company for today's colleagues and today's dividend recipients, but for future colleagues future dividend recipients, and that's just been passed on. I think it's in our DNA when I became CEO, I didn't have to change anything that was already in the culture, and of course, Frank still right down. The hall is our executive vice chairman make ensure that I don't screw things up hardly. But not. Only did you know the mandate when he became executive. But you also knew that the part of the role is to innovate is to change is to diversify the business again. A new business lines which you've done beautifully somewhat say her may not even be described as a media company. I mean, how would you describe? I will we like to think of ourselves as entertainment information and services company, but I would argue that a hundred and thirty two years ago, we were the same thing because when William Randolph Hurst, persuaded his father to let him take over a newspaper that his father, owned as part of a wide diverse holdings of Senator Hearst, the San Francisco Examiner in eighteen eighty seven I would argue at that time and still to some degree today that newspaper, particularly back then was a principal source of entertainment, a principal source of information and provided all kinds of services to the community hundred and thirty two years later. Would argue that we are obviously entertainment through. Yes. PIN through the history and lifetime channels principally in our local stations information. Yes, is still news, but has also morphed over time into financial credit information through Fitch aviation and information through a company called camp that we own fabulous company, and then the services have become more software services camp as an aviation data and software company, we have a couple of medical software company. So I would argue that while the actual execution elements have evolved. We've stayed in three broad areas of entertainment information, and services because one of the reasons why actually start doing this podcast is because of the storytelling opportunity around this industry, and really not only where we're going, but where we've come from, and that's why. By looking forward to this conversation with Steve because you have a sense of media, and information services is not being a static concept, but where we came from and where we're going very much still in growth mode, and innovation mode. And that is a hallmark for the industry. Most times these are public companies and very hard to transition into these new models, as a public company Bentley, when you have a traditional beat ABI business, which is media in most cases now to beat ac- to consumer business, also very difficult the skill set. So everyone says, I wish I was just a private company doing this, but you have the luxury of doing so there's a give you a different way of taking risk of being bold, as a private family, controlled business versus being public whichever wanna Republic ever is a long time. We have no current need or plans to be public one of the great things about our portfolio. Is it generates a very significant amount of free cash that allows us to keep invest? Sting in the kind of businesses that we want invest in without going to the public markets for equity capital and actually using very little debt as well. So, I think, though that it's not so much public versus private. It's a legacy and its credibility. So whether we were public or private, we would not have been able to pull off the expansion that we had over the last several years into more and more business data medical data or business or medical software. If we hadn't had a legacy of doing that which came out of trade publishing, so you go back forty or fifty years through various acquisitions. I don't think trade publishing was ever a top of mind strategy for the company, but through various acquisitions, we got some trade publications some of which we still publish we still publish Lor covering weekly. And if you wanna know what? That's about the name says it all, but it's still a profitable industry publication. So we continue to do that. But back forty fifty years ago, we were publishing magazines called American druggist. We republishing magazine called motor, which was for people who repair cars for living, fortunately, for us, the publishers of those to trade magazines, again, forty fifty years ago decided that as good or better business would be to be collecting data in their industry. And of course, at the time they had the publish this date in big books, because there was no internet, but American druggist spawned, a company called first databank, which we own one hundred percent of, and it is the largest source in this country of drug dosing information, drug interaction information that is relied on by hospitals and pharmacies across this country. And in some other countries that came out of American druggist motor more from a magazine about how to fix cars into a database as to how to fix cars and repair times and, and repair cost estimates. And is now a fabulous data business that is put together. I think it's in the realm of twenty seven or twenty eight straight years of revenue and profit growth, so we did more aggressively decide Frank Bennett, and I when I was fortunate enough to become his chief operating officer in two thousand eleven we jointly decided with the tremendous support of our board, and particularly our chairman will Hearst to push more aggressively into business data and business off wear, and since that decision we've made nine billion dollars of backwards issues in that area alone, including, including Fitch, we own a smaller piece of fish, we now one hundred percent. A fish and what is forever one's audience and sort of a rating agency component kids, one of the global ratings agencies clearly along with SNP and Moody's and Fitch itself has a long history. And I think Paul Taylor and his team are CEO there do a fabulous job, and it's global rating agency and then it has other non raidings financial information product. So it is a large global financial data provider. Now when you say ratings obviously, this is not media ratings. No, you're talking about bond rating. Right. But the debt markets and the financial markets, so you start off as a Wall Street Journal. Reporter, I believe way back when take us through how that skill set and being very well read gives you the qualifications to be overseeing this conglomerate and building this company. Most of us have had any success in life. And if it from just having head great mentors in from the time I joined the Wall Street Journal, I got to work with such giants in the businesses. Norm perlstein and James b Stewart who writes a famous column now for the New York Times. And I think that what you learn as a financial journalist, is how to analyze things you have to some things up quickly..