Episode 264

Future PLC CEO Zillah Byng-Thorne on Reviving a Billion Dollar Company

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About Zillah Byng-Thorne

My guest today, Zillah Byng-Thorne, is a world class leader. She was most recently the CEO of Future PLC, where she transformed the company from a struggling business to a thriving publishing giant with a market cap of over $1 billion. Before turning Future around, she was the CFO of Auto Trader. Zillah has established herself as a visionary leader in the publishing field and is a frequent speaker and also a board member of several well known organizations.

Episode Overview

Welcome to another episode of The Elevate Podcast! Today’s episode features Zillah Byng-Thorne, a distinguished leader best known as the CEO of Future PLC, a leading global media company. Zillah shares her insights on the power of organizational culture and the importance of making tough decisions as a leader.

Zillah believes that the culture of an organization is not solely determined by the CEO, but rather, it is a collective effort of everyone within the business. She shares her experience of joining Future, where there was no strategy or purpose in place. Zillah and her team conducted workshops to define the company’s culture, values, and purpose, which ultimately guided their actions and decisions.

The episode also explores the topic of making tough choices as a leader, particularly when it comes to layoffs. Zillah shares her disagreement with the narrative that vilifies such decisions, emphasizing that layoffs can sometimes be necessary for a company’s survival. She highlights the responsibility of leaders to make difficult decisions to prevent others from having to make them for the organization.

Additionally, Zillah dives into the challenges of anonymous feedback within organizations and the potential disruptions it can cause. She shares how her organization had to implement changes in communication channels to address disruptive individuals. While they value an open culture and anonymous channels for safety concerns, Zillah also raises the issue of anonymous feedback being used to avoid open discussions.

The episode concludes with Zillah’s insights on talent management and the importance of recognizing the needs of individuals at different stages of their careers. She illustrates this concept by using an analogy from English soccer, highlighting the need for different individuals to drive growth and success in various stages of a business.

Stay tuned for an enlightening episode filled with valuable insights from Zillah Byng-Thorne, as we explore the power of organizational culture, making tough decisions, and effectively managing talent. Let’s dive right in!

Learn More about Zillah
About Future PLC
Zillah’s LinkedIn

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