Publishing giant IPC’s new communications head Julie Wilson must be
made of strong stuff. Promoted to the position earlier this year, she is
to be responsible for internal and external communications at the
publisher, for publicising top magazines like Women’s Own and Loaded,
and for smoothing the company’s introduction to the stock market within
the next two years.
At the same time, she also has to be ever vigilant of the health of her
two-year-old daughter Evie.
Born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLH), Evie has half a heart
and is highly susceptible to illness. Through caring for Evie, Wilson
has become involved in the charity Left Heart Matters, and is now its
Known for being direct in her dealings with people, Wilson holds true to
form in answering questions about her personal life.
’A very important part of my life is my daughter Evie,’ she states
Evie was born in 1996, and Wilson and her husband Patrick spend as much
time with her as possible in the knowledge that their time together
could be cut short at any moment. IPC allows Wilson to work at home on a
Head of finance at Left Heart Matters Andrew Shaw says: ’Julie has
brought a quality of leadership and an ability to bring people together
in the team. She is bubbly, a tireless worker and wants people to be
Shaw credits Wilson’s PR skills with helping the charity increase its
revenue from pounds 6,000 two years ago to the current figure of pounds
A key contact for Julie throughout her career at IPC has been Anna
Griffiths, media reporter on advertising trade title Campaign.
’If you are up front with her, she will be straight with you,’ Griffiths
says. ’She is good at keeping people in hand and makes sure things
happen when they are supposed to happen.’
Wilson began her career as a journalist in 1986 with trade weekly
Convenience Store. Two years later it was the money that drew Wilson
into consultancy work, at Hill and Knowlton. Although she learnt a lot
working for the agency, she missed the freedom of being a journalist,
disliked the long hours and did not like being told what to do.
In 1989, she joined Reed as a PR officer. Two years later, she was made
redundant along with 11 others in the press team when the company
Despite earlier misgivings about consultancy work, Wilson decided to get
back into the field and joined Paragon Communications as an account
But in 1994, she made up her mind to move in-house and joined IPC
Magazines as chief press officer. She was promoted to corporate
communications manager in 1996.
’I have to say I did not like consultancy work at all and that is why I
work in-house,’ she says. ’I enjoy handling PR for journalists.’
In her new role as communications head, which she assumes from incumbent
Jack Low in June, Wilson will be working with major brands including
Women’s Own, TV Times and Loaded in an attempt to woo City investors.
’Sometimes City people can be very stuffy but they all know our brands,’
A more immediate and unpleasant part of Wilson’s job will be to inform
200 IPC staff that they are to be made redundant. The company announced
the redundancies earlier this year and in mid-April, the staff will find
out who is to go.
’It has happened to me before and I know that I need to be honest with
everyone,’ Wilson says. ’You have to remember these are people and you
have to understand the emotive side of this,’ she adds.
An internal team has been set up to ensure everyone is kept up to date
with news on the cuts. Wilson will need all her steel to see through the
difficult changes facing IPC.
1988 - Account executive, Hill and Knowlton
1989 - PR officer, Reed International
1990 - Account manager, Paragon Communications
1994 - Chief press officer, IPC magazines
1999 - Communications head (designate), IPC Magazines.