As COO of City AM, Harry combines the diverse experience he gained from his time in the hospitality industry, with his media and publishing expertise - to lead the day-to-day running of the City AM Media Group. WIBF are proud to have City AM. as the 2020 Awards Media Partner.
Harry Owen
Harry Owen
Chief Operating Officer, City A.M. Media Group

Harry began his career as an executive, working for Haymarket Publishing, Express Newspapers and Telegraph Media Group, having read History at the University of York. This led him to his first stint at City AM joining the launch team in 2005 – he went on to become Commercial Director in 2010. Harry then left City AM in 2014 to launch a new media and events business with entrepreneur and owner of the Boisdale Restaurant Group, Ranald Macdonald. In 2015 he joined the board as Boisdale’s Commercial Director, before returning to City AM in February 2018 as Chief Operating Officer.

As COO of City AM, Harry combines the diverse experience he gained from his time in the hospitality industry, with his media and publishing expertise - to lead the day-to-day running of the City AM Media Group. His first two years back both showed positive earnings, alongside the company launching several new products and developing effective strategies to diversify revenue streams.

WIBF are delighted to have City.AM. on board as our media partner’s for the 2020 Awards for Achievement.

How did City A.M. first get involved with WIBF?

I was introduced to WIBF by my good friend Liz Hughes, who sits on the Management Board - so whilst I have known about it for some time, City A.M. officially became involved a couple of years ago. Since then we have met lots of the WIBF team, and vice versa - building up a strong working relationship between our organisations. Not only has City A.M. proudly become a media partner for the WIBF Awards for Achievement, Vivienne Artz also sat on our own City A.M. Awards judging panel in 2019, the year we introduced the Diversity & Inclusion category. We were also delighted when Vivienne joined us as a speaker at the launch of the City A.M. Decodes Diversity & Inclusion series last year.

You attended the Awards luncheon last year, what memory stands out for you?

It was a fantastic event that we were really proud to be part of. Everyone was very welcoming - it felt very inclusive, with an incredibly strong sense of community and like all good award events, it was a genuine celebration of talented people in the industry. I like to think the City A.M. Awards has a pretty senior crowd when it comes to financial services - but the WIBF Awards definitely gave us a run for our money! The breadth and depth of talent really struck me – the platform WIBF has created, by highlighting the successes of women across the UK, means we have many more role models for young women. I wish my own girls had been able to experience the Awards and I hope they will have the opportunity to do so in the future.

How does City A.M. ensure that both the working environment and content published is diverse and inclusive?

Since we launched in 2005, City A.M. has subconsciously been a diverse place of work - we have employees from very different socioeconomic backgrounds, genders, ethnicities and nationalities - we also work really hard on nurturing female talent within the organisation and I’m proud that we have some great young female leaders. We value the different perspectives this diversity brings to the company and this is also reflected in our content. City A.M., by definition is fairly egalitarian - whilst many media owners now run a subscription service online, our content continues to be freely available to all.

The business benefits of a diverse team are undeniably clear and it really does bear repeating – diversity and inclusion is not a box-ticking or PR exercise - but something which tangibly enhances overall performance. As a media group we want to add our voice, and we shall continue to use our platform to drive further change.

What would you like your children to experience in their careers that you haven’t?

I have three daughters and I’d like them to have a level playing field – to be able to access the same experiences and opportunities I had – hopefully more. My wife Naomi is an antenatal teacher and we often discuss the issues surrounding parental leave and in particular, women returning to work - which sadly I believe is still not supportive enough across several industries; issues around corporate culture, prohibitive costs of childcare, business flexibility for working parents and social barriers, all still need to be addressed.

It’s often said that print media is a dying industry, how do you respond to that?

This has been said for some time - but last year our circulation and profits were both up. I think there are some unnecessary stereotypes attached to younger readers - millennials read newspapers too! About 500,000 people work in The City and of those, 61% are aged 22-39 (compared to a 40% average outside of the Square Mile) - City A.M.‘s own average reader age is 36, considerably younger than any other newspaper. We celebrate the fact that on a daily basis City A.M. is picked up by four different generations, all working full-time.

Can you tell us something about yourself that not many people know?!

Excluding my team (who both know about and have to endure this) I often manage projects using post-it notes - the walls of my office are covered in them. I also collect board games - only my family knew about that one!