Telegraph Media Group’s head of digital development, Greg Hadfield, is leaving the company after a year in the job, to be strategic products director at Brighton digital design house Cogapp, claiming: “The future is a new sort of organisation – more entrepreneurial.”
Hadfield founded Soccernet with his son in 1995 and sold it to ESPN (NYSE: DIS) four years later for $40 million. He then created and sold Schoolsnet in 2003. Hadfield joined TMG in January 2009 in what the company described as a “critical role”.
But at News:Rewired, comments he made to delegates suggest he’s looking for more a more entrepreneurial environment – ironic, since TMG is currently setting up an entirely new division under Will Lewis, designed to be entrepreneurial and innovative.
Criticising what he called “big, monolithic media”, Hadfield said: “Imagine a 2D product – a really strict hierarchical structure of management. Within the new media, it’s a much flatter, leaner structure with more devolved power.
“I decided to leave The Telegraph on Monday. I’m going off to a creative agency that will partner with the brightest and best.” He described Cogapp: “It’s helping to reinvent the future, and not just making the mistakes of the past.” (That may have been a comment about newspapers generally rather than TMG specifically).
Hadfield urged people to be more entrepreneurial: “The future is much more diverse. There’s not a dichotomy between being a journalist and an entrepreneur – the future is the individual journalist, not big media.
“The challenge is for big, monolithic media to recognise that being entrepreneurial is corporate ethos, to reflect in the structure to leverage the skills of the individual within the organisation.”
On his new company: “It has an office in New York and is about to digitise one of the world’s great museums and galleries. It’s fantastically smart – they’ve been working the internet since 1987. They have fantastic designers, techies, everything.” Hadfield won’t be doing another startup proper, but may be dabbling.
Yet Hadfield had a passing compliment for TMG, describing Will Lewis and his new division as “a big part of where we’re going journalistically … he’s 40 for goodness sake – an agent of cultural change”.
Update: Telegraph Media Group statement: “Greg Hadfield was employed at TMG on a 12-month contract which expired at the end of last week. It was mutually agreed that this would not be renewed. TMG is focusing its digital development on its Euston project and Hadfield had no involvement in this.”