The Fishbowl: Simon Kilby, Bauer Media
The Media Leader’s new(ish) interview series will ask the media industry’s top salespeople 10 revealing questions drawn from our fishbowl. The questions will be drawn at random and contain some tricky posers set by the commercial chiefs themselves.
This week is Simon Kilby, managing director of Bauer Media Advertising.
Simon Kilby has worked at Bauer Media for more than eight years, initially joining as head of marketplace and then moving to group commercial director, and later chief revenue officer, before his current role as managing director of Bauer Media Advertising. He now heads up a team of 200.
Prior to this he worked as commercial director at Absolute Radio and was head of trading and then sales director at Guardian News and Media.
What’s your favourite ad of all-time (specific to your sector)?
I still feel that the Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant radio ad for the Prostate Cancer Charity is my favourite in any medium. Brilliant theatre of the mind and very powerful.
What’s the bravest thing you have ever done?
Outside work, it would be asking for help at certain points in my life when things were really tough. In my experience this is always the first step towards resolving what may seem like insurmountable problems. Inside work it would be going skiing in St Anton after drinking a very large number of grappas the night before on the Guardian ski trip. I came close to skiing off a mountain!
Who is the smartest person you know?
I am a fan of the Andy Warhol quote: “I don’t want to be smart because being smart makes you depressed.” This seems especially true with the news agenda as it is at the moment. Every conversation I have with my two sons now makes me feel lacking in intelligence and they really enjoy ramming that home!
What is part of your daily routine that you look forward to every day?
A coffee first thing in the morning. I got sold a very expensive bean-to-cup coffee maker by a brilliant sales person in John Lewis a few years ago and feel I need to get value from it!
How often are you in the office in a typical week?
I am usually in town for three or four days a week now. I really enjoy the increased work/life balance from hybrid working and so do my teams. The future does not look like the past in terms of where we work but the office still plays a key role in culture, development of talent, collaboration and just having some fun.
What’s the best book you’ve read so far this year?
Matthew Syed, Black Box Thinking. I am really fascinated by how you deliver high performance in a team. Shout out all also to The High Performance Podcast which is brilliant.
What do you hope to be doing 10 years from now?
I have always fancied starting a cycling-related business. I have an idea in my mind that I am not sharing!
I would also like to be involved in some way helping young men deal with mental health issues. Having brought up two young men it is scary how common this challenge now is. The last two years of the pandemic have accelerated the problem. As a result, I believe it is going to be an even greater issue over the next few years sadly.
What is one of your greatest achievements?
Still working in an industry I love after 30 years would be one. Parenting two brilliant boys would be another. Climbing Mont Ventoux three times in a day on my bike gets an honourable mention too.
What is a unique skill you bring to your job?
I am realistic enough to know that I do not have any genuinely unique skills, as in skills that no one else has. Though my previous roles at The Guardian and Absolute Radio mean that I have the unique combination of publishing and radio experience — a perfect fit as Bauer is the only media company in the UK that provides both mediums.
Who’s your best friend in the industry?
I have been very lucky to spend long periods of time working both at The Guardian and now at Bauer. I have made friends from both places who will remain great life-long friends. I have never been one for designating a best friend in any area of my life. Maybe I am worried that it won’t be reciprocated!