Mawsonia Ltd


Chairman – Business Publishing & Events

Commercial development & building shareholder value

Established in January 2010, Mawsonia Ltd has built a leading and global position in the international Business Publishing sector.

Led by a highly committed and entrepreneurial executive team, the company produces a unique publishing offering via two key brands: Global Corporate Venturing (GCV), and the recently launched Global University Venturing (GUV).

The international corporate venturing market comprises very large companies involved in the commercialisation of intellectual property and the development of spin-out and spin-in opportunities for strategic advantage. It is a young sector and one with enormous demand for the very latest knowledge and up to date briefings.

The Global Corporate Venturing ezine has already attracted a prestigious global subscriber base and the market potential for this title is greater still. Meanwhile, the Global University Venturing title – which addresses the academia community and those involved in spinning out IP and innovations – has transitioned from being a free service to a subscriber-based model.

In addition to their publishing activities, Mawsonia runs a successful symposium programme that draws high profile speakers from around the world.

Using this strong market position as a platform, the business has developed exciting growth plans to include the extension of the events offering as well as the addition of a third title.

In pursuit of these objectives, Mawsonia sought to appoint a Chairman with the experience and entrepreneurial flair to lead growth and get the business investor-ready, with a view to a successful exit in 3-5 years.

It was vital that this individual possessed an indepth understanding of building a Business Publishing or Events venture as well as being experienced in fundraising, having led at least one successful exit.

“As an ambitious media company ready to accelerate our growth and raise capital, we tasked Intramezzo with finding us a Chairman.

 James Mawson, Founder & CEO, Mawsonia Ltd

What we did

This role required an exceptional Chairman who would accelerate the commercial development of the business and help shape and deliver a strategy for growth that would build shareholder value.

In order to find such a person, the first step was to develop a detailed specification, outlining our understanding of the requirement and the objectives of all key stakeholders. This document also further defined the expectations that would be placed upon the incoming Chairman.

Initially, the role would be to review and refine the current business plan before working to address its execution by setting strategic goals and ensuring they are met. The Chairman would lead the strategic debate, providing key input to evaluate, prioritise and pursue those opportunities that represented the most value to the business and its shareholders.

The ideal candidate, therefore, would need to have extensive board level experience and would have been formative in developing a strategy that had taken a Business Publishing or Events venture through to a successful exit.

He or she would be highly respected and well-connected, with a network that could be harnessed to accelerate the commercial plan and further build the profile of the company. The final requirement was that, if possible, the incoming Chairman would be someone who could make a personal investment into the business.

Tasked with this brief, Intramezzo appointed its Head of Research to work alongside the Client Director in deploying a comprehensive search of the Business Publishing and Events sector as well as exploring the existing Intramezzo network.

After identifying, approaching and profiling the target candidates, Intramezzo submitted a shortlist of four exceptionally strong potential Chairmen. Each had a well-developed interest in the opportunity and a keen desire to be part of the Mawsonia story.

A rigorous interview process followed, culminating in the client appointing their preferred candidate: Dominic Riley – an experienced Chairman of growth-equity-backed companies and former Chief Executive, with a long track record in internet media, online publishing and events.

“The insight provided by the Director leading this search highlighted the depth to this exceptional search and service. The Intramezzo team were thorough, fast-moving, discrete, enthusiastic and, above all, successful in finding us a Chairman who is world-class.”

James Mawson, Founder & CEO, Mawsonia Limited

Dominic Riley

Dominic has a highly interesting background which has seen him lead and deliver several turnaround, growth and exit strategies for a number of businesses including private equity, privately owned and publicly trading entities.

His career began in commercial marketing and one of Dominic’s earlier roles was as Head of Marketing for BBC Online – where he was responsible for launching in 1997 as well as the BBC’s interactive “red button” services two years later.

From here, Dominic founded – an online “magazine” style site, aimed at women. As Managing Director (and employee number one), Dominic launched the business from scratch and built it up to become the UK’s leading women›s website, with more than 1 million visitors per month within the first year. Eventually, the company was sold to Hearst Media Corporation for £22m.

Following this, Dominic moved on to join Reed Elsevier as Strategic Marketing Director for their professional publishing division, Lexis Nexis. In this capacity, he had responsibility for leading strategy, marketing and M&A activity as the business transitioned from print to online content.

He was later brought in to Hawksmere, one of the UK’s foremost professional events companies, to take on the role of Managing Director. Appointed by the company’s backers, Isis Equity Partners, Dominic joined as part of the MBI with a remit to turn the business around. By reducing operating costs, streamlining operations, improving working capital, overhauling marketing efficiency and executing a new strategy, the company successfully built sales, positive cashflow and significant EBITDA growth.

Ultimately, this resulted in the business being sold in a trade sale to The Washington Post Group/Kaplan in 2008 – generating a 2.5x multiple for Isis and significant returns for management.

Since his time at Hawksmere, Dominic has undertaken several key interim projects for Private Equity firms and, more recently, has developed a portfolio of Non-Executive roles; including the Chairmanship of a corporate events business and Founding Chair of a social marketing agency (which he lead to its eventual sale to the WPP Group).

Dominic’s impressive career history has equipped him with an exceptional understanding of internet media combined with the experience, contacts and insight needed to make an impact in the role at Mawsonia. He more than fulfills the client’s brief and represents an excellent choice for the business.

“Thanks to Intramezzo for the introduction to the team at Mawsonia, publishers of Global Corporate Venturing.

The space in which they publish is compelling; the management team’s enthusiasm is infectious and their track record gives me great confidence.

“Since joining the company we have moved quickly and already have significant interest from investors keen to help the business grow. We expect to close a fundraising round very soon and I will be investing alongside the new investors demonstrating my personal commitment to the business.””

Dominic Riley, speaking on his appointment as Chairman of Mawsonia Limited