WHAT I DO
Haymarket Media Group
Senior Consulting Editor
Mar 2017 – Present
WHAT I DID
MICROSOFT: Managing Editor, MSN
June 2004 - March 2017
MSN UK is one of the UK's biggest websites with around 16m monthly users.
In addition to wider team management, I had day-to-day responsibility for running MSN Money, one of the UK’s most popular personal finance websites. With a deep interest in business and finance, my role is to bring interesting, useful content to help our user’s solve their money challenges, combined with powerful tools including portfolio and currency management. Partners include FT, Business Insider, Motley Fool, and Money Advice Service.
I also ran MSN Cars, one of the UK’s most popular motoring websites. Building on my long experience in the category, we aim to supply an entertaining website that also informs and educates, supported by powerful research tools and classifieds from Auto Trader. Content partners include Auto Express, Autocar, CAR, and Car Buyer, with more to come.
I also ran MSN Tech, a technology vertical that brings together content from market leading websites like The Verge, Pocket Lint, and Engadget. The site aims to bring the sector to life, highlighting the technology people can buy today, as well as news tech that will change their lives in the future.
In addition, I was also Global Media Lead for automotive content on MSN worldwide. Building on my award-winning experience running MSN Cars, in this role, I coordinated a virtual team of people who operate MSN Autos websites in 50+ markets across multiple languages. My role involved identifying common successful themes that will work anywhere using the same content (with translation), achieving economies of scale.
I also managed MSN UK's newsletters, which are sent to millions of users every week, optimising for open and click rates and other key metrics.
I am highly commercially-minded. I am highly proficient in Omniture, Chartbeat, Comscore and other tools, in order to optimise traffic and revenue, and ensure that every page-view we sell is delivered. PS: I love SEO!
May 2002 - June 2004
I worked for myself as a consultant and completed numerous projects for clients including working on a campaign microsite for the charity Médecins Sans Frontières and building a marketing website for the insurer CJ Davis.
I also completed a Post Graduate diploma in Journalism at the University of Westminster, between September 2003 and June 2004.
OBJECT 1 LTD: Account Director
July 2000 - May 2002
I worked as Account Director for this small but innovative digital agency which had some key publishing clients.
I helped conceive, pitch, sell and direct important projects for some key clients, which included Oxford University Press (OUP), Wood Mackenzie, and the COI. For OUP I presented our vision for a prestigious new consumer website, AskOxford.com. We won the business and beat several rivals in the process.
Later, I won a lucrative consultancy and support contract with oil research giant Wood Mackenzie, and frequently travelled to that company's headquarters in Edinburgh to build and nurture that key relationship. Object1 was acquired by LBi in 2004; LBi in turn was acquired by Publicis.
January 2000 - July 2000
NTL at the time was the only company to have a fast digital cable network capable of running effective interactive television. Enthused by my work with programming at Pearson Television, I wanted to build on this, and my previous FT TV experience, with the chance to build an interactive TV service for financial services.
Working closely with key partners including Abbey National and Halifax, we built a system that enabled consumers to transact online and engage in e-commerce. Having successfully launched the service, and having enjoyed my work presenting to senior executives in the banking world, I decided to broaden my experience and go in a more commercial direction for my next role at Object1. NTL has since become Virgin Media.
March 1997 - January 2000
Recruiting a team from scratch, I established and operated all of the company's internet activities, including websites for its leading TV shows like The Bill, Neighbours, Baywatch, and Wish You Were Here?
I worked closely with the production teams, nurtured our relationship, and helped a sometimes sceptical audience to understand how the internet was going to dramatically change just about everything, including television. We established fan sites for our key shows, notably The Bill, and showed producers how their audiences were going online to learn more about their favourite shows, and get closer to them.
I worked with the Wish You Were Here? team to build an interactive TV experience with BT, which was then rolling out ADSL. This matched destination information with clips of Judith Chalmers and co reviewing the actual locations. I told the (slightly incredulous) producer of that show that one day, everyone would buy their holidays online. In 2011 I ran into him and he very kindly remembered this, and agreed that I may have been on to something after all.
There was a successful fan website for The Sweeney, produced by the company 20 years earlier, which was being rebroadcast on Channel 5. Instead of suing the website which some wanted, I encouraged Pearson to buy the site for a nominal fee, and we drove viewers to it after the broadcast and sold them DVDs.
A colleague and I travelled to Hawaii in July 1999 to build a new website for Baywatch, which was by then being filmed there; gruelling stuff but someone had to do it.
I also conceived and produced the build of the company's first corporate website, and our first intranet, and I managed to buy the domain name neighbours.com for £10. I was greatly helped in all of this work by the far-sighted support of Nick Humby (then finance director of Pearson TV, later of Manchester United plc) and Greg Dyke (then CEO).
Pearson Television has since been renamed FremantleMedia, and is now part of the RTL Group.
FINANCIAL TIMES TELEVISION:
October 1995 - March 1997
I started as a runner on £50-a-week, running scripts around this TV studio, made a vast amount of tea and coffee, and destroyed several forests with photocopying.
My technology interest led to me being offered a role setting up the FT TV website, which I worked on for over a year. The WWW in effect had just started and it was an extremely exciting time to be working in an industry that was clearly going to be huge - and so it was...
The word around town
"Tom is a very knowledgeable and experienced digital manager who achieved great results in my time as his manager at MSN - working across a broad range of content genres and with a large team.
Tom is a rare breed who has strong commercial and creative skills and blends them with great analytical skills to be a very capable leader. He's also a top bloke. I would have no hesitation in recommending Tom."
Dom managed me at Microsoft
Senior Director, Adobe UK
"I worked closely with Tom over a 4 year period during my time as part of the MSN editorial team. As a career journalist Tom stood out because he understood the potential of technology in his chosen profession and sought to exploit it rather than hide from it.
He is also highly adept at knowing 'just the right question' to ask to keep us all honest."
Peter was senior to me at Microsoft
Used Car Guru for Autocar
"I worked for Tom as a freelance for MSN Cars and it was pleasure. He always gave me a crystal clear brief which made my life so much easier. I always found him to be organised, passionate about the subject matter and one of the best editors I have worked with."
James was a client of mine at Microsoft
Former CEO, The Center for Public Integrity
"Tom is a domain expert in cars and a domain expert in what it takes to make digital publishing work for audiences and advertisers. He has built a series of great products that give great value to consumers and on which strong advertising businesses have been built.
He is also a strong team leader who seized the opportunities and framework offered by Microsoft to show true leadership and a spirit of collaboration in his team and with other groups. If I were ever able to set up an a-team of general publishing Tom would be within it."
Peter was my boss's boss at Microsoft
Publishing Director, Antiques Trade Gazette
"Always willing to go the extra mile, Tom is an asset to any business he works in.
He exudes accountability, enthusiasm, a drive for results and an interest in a wide variety of subjects all of which he aims to make himself an expert in.
Tom is a smart operator with a can-do attitude. Colleagues in other teams and third-party companies we partner with find him to be a helpful and fair collaborator, willing to work with them to achieve their aims while remaining editorially impartial.
Willing to learn and improve himself, he tries out new technology, techniques and strategies and determines what works for best him, his team and whichever business he is striving to make even more successful."
Matt managed me at Microsoft
Editor at Redwood - London
"Tom is an inspiring leader and manager. He seeks out a subject and becomes an expert in it. He leads by example, thinks deeply about best practice and mentors his team to bring his vision to life. Tom is also a natural digital media professional. What he doesn’t know about SEO and social media isn’t worth knowing.
It’s little wonder MSN Cars has been the go-to motoring destination for many years, with himself and his team earning a string of awards along the way. I learnt a lot during my time working with Tom and I’m proud to say the skills I developed under his guidance have enabled me to further my career within the industry."
Ian reported to me at Microsoft
Digital Media Consultant
"Tom is a great person to work with - he knows exactly how to achieve the results he is looking for, and has a fantastic sense of humour to go along with it."
I worked with Dawn at Microsoft
"Tom was one of the most forward thinking people I have worked with in the online industry. Very interesting to see that the ideas he had when I was working for him are now very much reality for everyday internet users.
Also one of the most professional and dedicated people I have worked with."
Vickie reported to me at Pearson Television
University College London
BA History, 1991-1994
I studied modern & medieval history. I love history, and came to appreciate the analytical skills it gave me which I use every day in the business world. I received a First for my dissertation on the Holocaust.
University of Westminster
Post-graduate Diploma, 2003-2004
Passed with Merit
I always wanted to firm up my skills, experience and qualifications in publishing and journalism, so embarked on this highly-regarded course taught by an amazing and inspirational tutor, Chris Horrie.
Westminster School, London SW1
GCSEs, AO & A-Levels