Hürriyet CEO applies innovation, change management lessons

After an extensive consulting career, Çağlar Göğüş is putting his knowledge of innovation and change management to work in his new post as CEO of Hürriyet, Turkey’s largest newspaper.

by WAN-IFRA Staff | September 13, 2016

Göğüş will give a keynote presentation on “Multimedia Transformations at Hürriyet” on Wednesday, 12 October, at Print World 2016, accompanying the World Publishing Expo.

In a brief e-mail interview, he describes a few of the lessons he is bringing to Hürriyet from his international management consulting and entrepreneurial background in the areas of organic growth, financial services, customer experience management and Big Data technologies.

WAN-IFRA: After an extensive career in business consulting, what attracted you to the newspaper industry?

Çağlar Göğüş: I find the newspaper/media industries to be very similar to business consulting. Both of those industries are very customer-driven and require strong digitalization perspectives, and innovation and change management skills are extensively needed. As a consultant to several blue-chip clients across EMEA, I led several transformation and digitalization projects – and now it is time to practice those skills on this side of the table.

What are some of the lessons from your career that you are applying to your new position?

A motivated, perseverant and passionate team can deliver a lot – if executives create the right environment for them. Since I experienced an entrepreneurial career as well as advising several blue-chip clients, I was fortunate enough to see how entrepreneurial spirit can make big changes in even large, well-established companies. So I am encouraging our team members to realize the value of the assets we have, and I urge them to experiment with new ideas across the company.

During my career, I have also recognized that the difference between successful companies and the average ones is mainly execution and getting into certain areas early. In everyday business, executives typically receive several excuses and reasons why certain things would not happen. As you and your team focus relentlessly on execution, such excuses will merely be simple problems to overcome.

What are the biggest challenges Hürriyet faces today?

Hürriyet’s challenges are no different than those facing most of the large publishers around the world: rapid migration to digital channels, strong competition in the classified-ad business from internet companies, and the need for an integrated perspective of digital and print journalism.

Please describe the multimedia transformation currently under way at Hürriyet.

We are running several initiatives, including but not limited to:

  • an overhaul of our mobile channels,
  • re-invention of several other external channels for engagement and traffic
  • creation of converged teams based on need and priorities, and
  • making video a seamless part of our journalism and product experience, touching lives of our readers, not just in news but in an extensive fashion.

Inclusive digital journalism, design thinking and technological innovation are at the heart of all those activities.

What is Hürriyet’s strategy regarding Big Data?

We have priority use cases for targeted advertising and personalizing communication and engagement tools. In order to support those use cases, we built a high-performance Big Data infrastructure in a very cost-effective fashion.

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