After the fall of the Iron Curtain, the disclosure of Eastern Europe became a well seen opportunity for Western media companies. Els Loesberg joined the international branch of Sanoma Media in 2000. As Chief Operating Officer she was responsible for the publishing businesses in Central Europe (Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia), having the local managing directors as her direct reports.
Strong market leading publishing companies were build, based on quickly expanding portfolio’s. In the glossy segments always with an important international partner like Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan, National Geographic. Local titles were mainly acquired and relaunched after “taking off the dust”. Online departments were installed. Company structures, editorial workflows, financial reporting, it all changed according to western standards.
“But I never forgot the local identity. There is no written blueprint for this or that company. For me it was challenging, working on strategic issues and implementations while you’re not involved in the day to day business. Never push too hard, but be clear on the objectives and goals, that’s what I learned and practiced. Mutual respect and trust in the capacity of the other, is key of course”.