‘A tough act to follow’: Industry reacts to Stephen Miron’s departure from Global

‘A tough act to follow’: Industry reacts to Stephen Miron’s departure from Global

Stephen Miron, group CEO of radio and OOH media owner Global, will be stepping down after 16 years in the role.

In March 2025, he will take on the position of chairman, replacing former ITV and Granada CEO Lord Charles Allen, who will become a senior non-executive director.

The industry reacted with surprise, with comments on Miron’s LinkedIn page announcing the move ranging from top media and commercial figures to former colleagues and employees.

Stephen Miron to exit as Global CEO

‘Exiting on a high’

Even though Miron will not be leaving the business fully, many took this announcement as a moment to reflect on his legacy and the journey of commercial radio and outdoor over the last 16 years.

Simon Myciunka, Bauer Media Audio UK CEO, told The Media Leader: “Commercial audio is in a stronger place than ever before — we’re a thriving industry and a key factor in this transformation is the work Stephen has led at Global.

“Commercial radio offers audiences and advertisers with so much and whilst there’s healthy competition between Bauer and Global, there’s also a deep respect, as the radio sector has shown itself to be a sustained force in the media landscape. Everyone at Bauer wishes Stephen the best in his new role as chairman and we look forward to collaborating with their new CEO in the future.”

Sam Austin, head of audio at Goodstuff Communications, said: “Miron joined at a time of huge change in commercial radio. Helping to lead the roll-out of Global Radio, and develop what are some of the largest radio brands in the UK such as Heart, Capital and Smooth, has completely changed the landscape.”

Charlotte Taylor, head of non-AV trading at Publicis Media’s trading arm, PMX, remarked: “Talk about exiting on a high! Stephen has created an admirable legacy, with Global now becoming the UK’s largest commercial radio and OOH company. Stephen’s leadership of Global during a time which I’d describe as a ‘renaissance for radio’ has not only had an impact on Global but also the wider industry, with Global often spearheading innovation and change within the industry.”

Matt Deegan, founder of Folder Media, told The Media Leader: “It would be hard to argue that Miron’s tenure hasn’t been a success. Global’s much stronger than its constituent parts and it’s added real scale with the outdoor acquisitions.”

Emma Dibben, head of partner collaboration at Wavemaker, added: “Stephen will be a tough act to follow — the growth of the Global brand under his tenure has been incredibly impressive.”

Jason Brownlee, founder of Colourtext, said: “During Stephen Miron’s tenure, we’ve seen the establishment and consolidation of Global’s national radio brands, which have been a strong commercial success that has put the BBC under real competitive pressure. We’ve also watched Global expand creatively into the podcast space and invest heavily in both content and talent, which is to be applauded and should pay dividends in the future.

“Finally, Global made a success of its sideways move into outdoor advertising, which could so easily have gone wrong. It’s a testimony to Stephen’s leadership qualities that we’ve witnessed a smooth integration of Global’s outdoor proposition into its wider portfolio and go from strength to strength.”

What next?

Looking ahead, Austin said: “Global’s focus needs to be on building revenue back up in OOH and further establishing into other platforms, which they have successfully done with the likes of The News Agents podcast. They are releasing The Sports Agents podcast with Mark Chapman and Gabby Logan, which hopefully will be successful, being launched before the summer of sport.”

Dibben echoed this, calling the addition of OOH to Global’s portfolio “a bold and challenging move” that has “yet to reach its full potential as a combined force”.

She added that there was “a wealth of opportunity” in the creative use of Global platforms to support advertiser growth and in the optimisation of connected planning, where OOH and audio are critical components.

While Deegan acknowledged that Global “probably needed forthright leadership to get them where they are”, the question moving forward was whether “a top-down approach” is what is needed if Global wanted to be a business “able to thrive in a digital-only environment”.

He highlighted that the final stage of development of “the heritage business” would happen at the beginning of 2025, when most radio regulation disappears, meaning Global would be free to arrange frequencies and output in a way that best suits the company rather than a regulator.

Deegan added: “The next stage of their evolution will surely be to look at international opportunities. Are they happy with just a 15% share in US company iHeartMedia or do they want Global to be truly global?”

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Key developments under Miron

Global was founded in 2007 by Ashley Tabor-King, who went on to purchase Chrysalis Radio, the owner of Heart, Galaxy, LBC and The Arrow radio brands, for £170m.

A year later, Miron joined Tabor-King following a 20-year career in newspapers. He was previously managing director of The Mail on Sunday and MailOnline, managing director for new ventures at Associated Newspapers (now DMG Media) and commercial director at The Independent.

In the same year, Global took over GCap Media, which included The One Network, Classic FM, XFM, Choice FM, Gold and Chill.

At the time, the only national radio brand was Classic FM, but now Global is home to a number of national networks, with Heart and Capital starting their national roll-outs in 2008 and 2011 respectively.

Global launched the Digital Ad Exchange (Dax) in 2014 as a way for advertisers to digitally buy ad space across Global’s portfolio, and it brought in dedicated app Global Player and a slate of podcasts to its business.

In 2018, Global moved into OOH by acquiring three outdoor companies in quick succession — Primesight, Outdoor Plus and Exterion Media — making it the largest OOH advertising company in the UK.

Global now describes itself as Europe’s largest radio and outdoor company.

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