Richard Huntingford, chairman of Future, will begin the search for a replacement for Zillah Byng-Thorne, one of the most successful media executives in Britain.
After nearly a decade in charge, the boss who grew Future into one of the largest publicly traded digital media companies in Britain is planning to leave down next year.
Zillah Byng-Thorne, Future’s chief executive since April 2014, has notified the company’s chairman of her intention to resign within the next 18 months. Future is the publisher of Country Life and FourFourTwo magazines.
Media industry experts anticipate that Ms. Byng-Thorne will resign in the latter half of 2023.
Richard Huntingford, chairman of Future, has not yet launched a formal search process, but news of her planned departure is expected to pique the interest of leaders in the internet and publishing industries.
This week, Ms. Byng-Thorne was chosen vice chair of the online reviews portal Trustpilot.
City insiders anticipate that she will succeed Tim Weller as Trustpilot’s chairman in due time.
She has substantial expertise as a director of several publicly traded firms, such as THG, the online retailer of health and beauty items from which she resigned this week.
Other boards on which Ms. Byng-Thorne has served include Trainline and Auto Trader Group.
Under her leadership, Future has become one of the most prolific London-listed acquirers of media assets, overcoming the industry’s recent reluctance to engage in transformative transactions.
Ms. Byng-Thorne completed a £300 million acquisition of Dennis Publishing in 2016, which adds the current affairs magazine The Week to Future’s list of publications.
Investors have fled digital and technology companies over the past year, causing Future’s stock price to plummet by more than half. However, this statistic fails to highlight the influence that its senior CEO has had on the company.
Ms. Byng-Thorne was initially appointed as finance chief in 2013. At the time she assumed the role of CEO, Future had a market capitalization of barely £30m.
On Friday, its shares finished at 1657p, giving it a market capitalization of slightly more than £2 billion.
In addition to its collection of magazine titles, Future owns the pricing comparison website GoCo and maintains several e-commerce and event-based revenue-generating brands.
Among its other notable brands are TechRadar, Marie Claire, and Who What Wear.
Ms. Byng-successful Thorne’s tenure as CEO of Future has not, however, prevented investors from criticizing the magnitude of her compensation packages.
In February, a majority of shareholders voted against a share program that would have given £95 million to her and other top executives.
Nevertheless, some City institutions consider that Ms. Byng-Thorne was not sufficiently compensated for the value she delivered for Future’s investors.
Since then, the corporation has consulted with shareholders regarding the matter.
A spokeswoman for Future stated on Saturday that the company does not “comment on rumors” regarding the CEO’s future.