As Robin Pauley’s 20 years at the Financial Times draw to a close,
it is fitting that his departure, just as his original appointment,
should come at a time of international expansion for the company. One of
his last acts as managing editor, before he joins BT in November, has
been to help the FT set up a German language business newspaper.
At BT Pauley, as director of corporate communications, will be
responsible for the telecoms giant’s brand and reputation
internationally. Pauley replaces Ian Ash, who has been at BT for ten
years, including six years as director of corporate communications.
While Pauley’s tenure at BT begins in November, Ash does not retire
until the end of the following year, allowing for an overlap period.
During this overlap Ash will act as a consultant to Pauley and will
remain in charge of managing the brand.
At present Ash has in excess of 200 people reporting to him, 60 of whom
The international part of his brief is bound to be attractive to a man
who has studied in Israel and Paris, speaks French, German and Hebrew
and is a keen traveller. For most of the past six months, Pauley has
been based in Hamburg organising the FT launch, which is due early next
After leaving school, Pauley chose to study in Israel. ’I thought I
would probably go into journalism but didn’t want to take the
traditional UK route,’ he says. In 1972, he took his first job at his
local paper, the Yorkshire Post. After joining as a sub-editor, he
quickly took a reporter’s position on the recently developed
international desk. After three years at the Post, he decided to move
abroad again to study.
But having lived in France and Germany, Pauley, now married and with two
children, felt it was time ’to start earning a proper living and adopt a
more stable outlook’. By chance, he came across an advertisement that
the FT was planning to launch an international edition and was looking
for journalists with international experience and, in 1978, Pauley was
offered a job on the ten-man team.
After six months on the international edition, Pauley spent five years
as a reporter on the UK title. But in 1986, he was appointed as
London-based Asia editor, a role which allowed him to travel but wasn’t
a posting which would disrupt his family life.
In 1990, Pauley moved into editorial management as deputy managing
editor of the FT. ’It was a position with different challenges and
rewards,’ he says. ’The withdrawal symptoms from writing were quite
severe, but I quickly got sucked into management and how a paper works
as a business,’ he says.
According to Richard Lambert, who has been editor of the FT since 1991,
Pauley adapted well. ’Robin is a good communicator with a great sense of
humour, and is tough on budget matters, which is the job of a manager,’
Pauley’s success as deputy managing editor led to him taking the
managing editor post in 1994. Here he flourished until earlier this year
when he was approached by BT to head its corporate communications team.
Pauley was not actively seeking a change but: ’When I thought about the
opportunity, it was just too exciting and challenging to pass over,’ he
Pauley confesses to no prior knowledge of the market, but claims to be
used to perpendicular learning curves. ’Telecoms is a dynamic sector so
it is going to be a big challenge,’ he says. ’I am going to be very
active and I like that.’
In his new post, he will oversee the work of Hill and Knowlton, BT’s
corporate communications agency in Europe and Asia. But he has no
intentions of making an instant revolution, saying ’it is unproductive
When not working, Pauley has a keen interest in the arts, is a fan of
modern and abstract painting and daubs a bit himself for ’therapy’.
Until recently, he was also keen on sailing but has vowed to give that
up because it is too cold in UK waters.
But his love of travelling remains undiminished. ’Ideally I would like
to go back to many of the places I have visited through work. It would
be nice to go back as a tourist and be more relaxed,’ he says. No doubt
Pauley can expect plenty more globe-trotting in his new role.
Asia editor, Financial Times
Managing editor, Financial Times
Director of corporate communications, BT