Anil Bhoyrul makes many other business journalists seem staid and
conservative. He blasted his way into journalism after deciding that a
career in civil engineering didn’t suit him, rocketed up to run Sunday
Business in his first five years, was ousted by the paper’s new owners
and now is a kind of proprietor/editor of the most rumbustious business
magazine ever to find its way onto the newsstands. And he’s still only
After helping to launch Sunday Business with his mentor Tom Rubython in
1996, Bhoyrul found the paper’s incoming shareholders wanted him out in
January of this year. Fortunately, he’d been talking to other investors
about the paper so, when he suggested to his backers that they buy his
old title BusinessAge from VNU, everyone agreed and now Bhoyrul is back
in charge of his first love.
He still embodies the fighting spirit of BusinessAge’s first incarnation
under owner and editor Tom Rubython, who sold it to VNU in 1995.
’Under VNU the title became very dull, full of share tips, graphs and
diagrams,’ complains Bhoyrul. ’It was very boring. I plan to take the
title back to its glossy, controversial and scandalous best. We’ll
probably ruin a few careers along the way, but only if they deserve it,
and we’ll keep on with our big interviews.’
The legend of the pre-VNU BusinessAge was that it went down in a welter
’Nonsense,’ says Bhoyrul. ’No-one sued us successfully,’ he says. ’In
libel cases you just have to keep your nerve. In fact, I see getting
sued as the ultimate compliment. If I write a horrible piece about
someone and they don’t call their lawyer, I wonder what I’ve done wrong.
As long as you know the story is correct, you just have to keep your
Bhoyrul is clear about the ambitions of his title and he believes his
staff are too. Most of them served with him on BusinessAge in the early
years and the others he pinched from Sunday Business when he left. He
plans to interview the likes of Blair, Branson, Sugar and Eubank and he
thinks these names, coupled with the magazine’s attitude, should help
reach the target ABC figure of 60,000 within the year.
’This time round we’ve done a lot of bulk sales deals with airlines,
which we didn’t do before,’ he explains. ’I suppose I’ve learned a lot
from editing a newspaper for two years. It’s a really tough job. People
only read one newspaper, but they read several magazines, so it should
be easier to put on circulation with a magazine.’
And what of Tom Rubython? Will he return to join his protege? ’Tom may
work for us as a freelance,’ Bhoyrul opines. ’ In fact, he’s in the same
building as me, as is Sunday Business. They needed to rent the top floor
out so I offered them money and they took it.
’Of course, they didn’t expect me to nick their sales director and their
head of design, but there we are. Anyway, if things go according to plan
I’ll offer to buy the paper in a year or so. I’m sure it’ll be for
1993: Insight editor, BusinessAge
1994: Deputy editor, BusinessAge
1995: Launch team manager, Sunday Business
1996: Editor, Sunday Business
1997: Editor, BusinessAge.