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Evening Standard appoints Shortlist co-founder as its first chief executive

The co-founder of Shortlist magazine has joined the Evening Standard as the newspaper’s first chief executive.

Mike Soutar will start in the newly-created role on Monday as the free newspaper fights to return to profitability having lost more than £11m a year before tax over the past two years.

Soutar co-founded Shortlist Media, which published the now-defunct free men’s weekly Shortlist. He stepped down from his part-time role as company chairman in October last year.

Shortlist Media was bought out by DC Thomson in 2015 and Shortlist closed at the end of last year after 11 years in print with the publisher switching focus, and its name, to its women’s weekly title Stylist.

Soutar has also worked as managing director of Kiss FM and as a board director on magazine publisher IPC Media (now TI Media) for six years.

Earlier in his career Soutar edited FHM, Smash Hits, and the US edition of Maxim.

In a statement, Soutar said: “I’ve been a regular reader of the Evening Standard since the late 1980s when I first moved to London.

“It is the city’s heartbeat – a Londoner’s essential source of news, entertainment, listings and inspiration.

“Its quality journalism reaches unparalleled numbers of influential and affluent readers in print every weekday and it touches millions more through its website and other platforms.

“I look forward to working with the talented team at the Evening Standard to grow an even stronger business that will continue to play a central role in shaping and reporting the cultural and political development of the greatest city in the world.”

Soutar is stepping down from his role on the board of the Independent Press Standards Organisation, which he joined in 2016. The Evening Standard has opted not to join IPSO and is instead self-regulated.

The paper began to merge its print and digital teams earlier this year in a bid to remove “unnecessary duplication” and return to profitability.

Standard owner Evgeny Lebedev said: “The Evening Standard is an iconic and prestigious brand that has strong growth potential across multiple platforms.

“We are delighted that Mike has joined the Evening Standard at this important time for the company and wider industry and are confident that his vast media experience and leadership skills will make a great success of this new role.”

The Standard had an average distribution of 816,813 copies in August, according to the latest ABC figures, and reaches 16m people per month across print and online according to Pamco data.

Picture: ESI Media

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