Warwick Takes It All in His Stride; Former Gazette MD Warwick Brindle Created Rockliffe Hall for Middlesbrough FC Chairman Steve Gibson. PETER McCUSKER Met Him

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Byline: PETER McCUSKER

ON leaving college in Wolverhampton with an arts degree in 1972, Warwick Brindle launched his first business venture, a design and ceramics company with his wife Maureen and two other business partners.

This is where he says he learned his first business lesson.

"Two is difficult, three is a committee," he says.

In 1988 he came to the North-east to take over the role of deputy managing director at the Evening Chronicle, Journal and Sunday Sun in Newcastle, then owned by Thomson.

And the ensuing eight years saw him move in quick succession to Chester, Teesside and up to Scotland for the top job at the Scotsman.

He says his father was a key inspiration in his life, always encouraging him to achieve.

"My dad would always push me. He always wanted to know what would be my next step. He had run a family owned textile business in Lancashire.

The family sold it to a large competitor, which he joined and went on to be managing director of, in a sense he set the bar high."

And self-effacingly for such a high-achiever, Mr Brindle contends: "I always found the biggest challenge was being able to do the job when I was promoted to it. Before I got the job I used to think it was easy, until I started to do it!" He says the most recent recession is different to previous ones he has experienced.

"None have been as tough as this one. Making people redundant is one of the hardest things you have to do."

He says his most difficult period in newspaper management was when he had to shut down a paper in Chester.

In 1995 Thomson asked Mr Brindle to shape its overseas operations and he was invited to take up the role as senior vice-president of its newspapers in the US and Canada. "The US newspaper market is very different to the one in the UK. They are pretty straight-laced. You would never get anything like the hacking scandal over there.

"In fact it was difficult to get them to report on anything exciting!

"One aspect of my job was to go round the independents to see if we could buy their papers.

But trying to get a newspaper owner to sell to us when he was making margins of 50% was a challenge."

During his time on the Thomson board in the US, Mr Brindle developed an expertise in bringing forward online platforms for classified advertising and supplements for properties and cars. …