By Alyson Fixter
Publisher and broadcaster Andrew Neil has been appointed non-executive chairman of Middle Eastern magazine publisher ITP as part of a likely move into newspapers for the company.
ITP, which publishes Arabian Business magazine as well as Dubai editions of Time Out and Campaign under licence, appointed former Sunday Times editor Neil to the post on Tuesday.
Neil, publisher at the Barclay brothers’
Press Holdings, pledged that "the Barclay brothers always come first", but said he would be spending more time in Dubai as part of his appointment.
He added: "ITP is a fast-growing and successful company in one of the most stimulating markets in the world.
"The dynamic of Dubai makes it an excellent place to do business and I look forward to working with the talented ITP team to expand the business in the region and beyond.
"Dubai is very accessible: you can get on a plane in the morning, arrive there in time to do a day’s work, get on another plane in the evening and get back to the UK to do another day’s work."
He said his role would involve giving advice to management and ensuring it followed the company’s strategic plan, which he said was still being "firmed up", but was likely to involve a move into newspapers.
He told Press Gazette: "Various opportunities are being discussed, and something should happen before the end of the year.
"One of the reasons they wanted to get me as chair was that if they were to move into newspapers, I might be able to help them."
A spokesman for ITP said the company was embarking on "a phase of aggressive expansion and growth".
"We have ambitious plans for the future and believe that Andrew’s experience and counsel will be invaluable to this company as we proceed to realise those plans," he added.
ITP is the biggest magazine publisher in the Middle East, covering both consumer and B2B titles, and recruits many of its employees from the UK.
At Press Holdings Group, Neil is publisher of The Spectator, The Business newspaper, Apollo arts magazine and handbag.com, the online women’s magazine. He also anchors BBC Two’s Daily Politics and This Week on BBC One.