Our first in a series of crystal ball guest writers in Speakers’ Corner is Nancy McKinstry, CEO of $4.8 billion (2008 revenue) professional publisher, Wolters Kluwer. I first met Nancy four years ago to write her profile for the Forbes 100 Most Powerful Women in the World list, and have met her annually to update the feature. (most recently, she ranked #43 on the list) I continue to be impressed by her forward-thinking and fearless leadership of a company facing tough times. Back in 2006, Nancy was finishing up a three year restructuring – including layoffs and divestitures – she started when she took the helm of the Netherlands based company. She started making acquisitions, expanding in China, and shifting the company into software as opposed to its traditional large tomes. She is committed to protecting Wolters Kluwer content and expertise by making sure the company changes with the times. I am inspired by her vision and I think publishers should listen and learn from her example. Of course pay for content says Nancy, but make it user friendly and user responsive. Great ideas from a great leader who is determined to keep her company independent (it’s become a running joke over the years, why don’t you merge with a bigger company I always ask; no way says Nancy). Revenue growth may still be a struggle, but the company’s stock price is up 17% over the past year.
I always leave a meeting with Nancy feeling jazzed and believing there are readers who value quality and not idiocy (oh say like MTV’s Jersey Shore). Read her thoughts on what is in store for content in 2010 in Speakers’ Corner.
Another great attribute of Nancy’s: making sure she is home in time to have dinner with her two children and to walk the family dog.