Aegis chief Davis nets top Reed role

Aegis boss Crispin Davis has been appointed chief executive of publisher Reed Elsevier. He is being replaced by News International managing director Doug Flynn.

Davis joins Reed, which has tried to fill the post for the past 11 months since the company scrapped its joint chairman structure. During that time, analysts say the company has underperformed. In June, Reed warned that its profits for 1999 would be below last year’s.

Reed publishes 1,200 business titles, including medical journal The Lancet and showbusiness newspaper Variety.

Reed Elsevier chairman Morris Tabaksblat says: “Crispin has an outstanding track record of building businesses.”

Davis joins Reed at the start of September, which is when Flynn replaces him.

Flynn, an Australian, who worked for News Corp before joining NI in 1994, became a non-executive director of Aegis in 1998. In the UK, Aegis agency Carat handles the media account for News International’s titles.

A former colleague of Davis says: “He has left the company in good shape. There was a lot of boardroom strife when he took over five years ago. He calmed that, stabilised profits, and expanded into Asia.”

Another senior figure com-ments: “Flynn will have to take the company into the US – it does not have much of a presence there.”

Andrea Azzimondi, global head of media research for investment bankers Paribas, says the task for Davis at Reed is to maximise profits in the US, to develop its Internet trading, and streamline its organisational structure.

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