Virgin Interactive poaches design guru from Guardian

The Guardian has lost Tony Ageh, the brains behind many of its innovative sections, to Virgin Interactive Entertainment.

Ageh, and his product development unit (PDU), was responsible for the Saturday Guardian’s The Guide, much of the title’s tabloid Section 2, the Observer’s Preview section and the ill-fated UK version of Wired. He is going to Virgin to work on designs for its Internet services.

The PDU provides design expertise for individual pages, special supplements and as much as ten per cent of The Guardian and Observer’s editorial output.

“Ageh has made an outstanding contribution to The Guardian over the past four years,” says David Brook, marketing director for The Guardian and Observer. “But it was not just one person, we have a team.”

The Guardian is understood to be planning a reorganisation of its development unit and a new structure to replace Ageh will be revealed imminently.

“Innovation is part of the culture here,” adds Brook. “And it works right through to editorial, advertising and marketing. But it’s not just gimmicks, it is led by reader needs.”

The PDU has created many of the value-added products that have helped The Guardian ride out the newspaper price war. Agency buyers have praised the Guardian’s innovations and now create copy specifically to fit sections such as the A5 Guide.

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