Management gurus often talk about the role of youth and new ideas. Nigel Portwood, who left Penguin to take charge as the chief executive of Oxford University Press five months ago, may be a case study in the making. Not because a 44-year-old is running a 522-year-old organisation, but because of the way he is embracing the digital age and trying to “outrun the change”. Suveen K Sinha caught up with Portwood on his first visit to India in the new job and is still out of breath. Edited excerpts:
Are you the youngest to head OUP?
I don’t know. I doubt it. We have a 500-year history. I may be the youngest for a little while.
So we have a businessman running a university press.
I studied engineering at Cambridge, specialising in manufacturing. Then I became a consultant in London for a few years. Then I did an MBA in France. I have worked for most of my career in the media industry, so I have always had this experience of balancing the creative and the commercial. I am not an editor, but I think I have a good understanding of the roles and processes, and I love publishing.
Full interview here Business Standard