Magazine article Management Today

Madejski's Happiest Score

Magazine article Management Today

Madejski's Happiest Score

Article excerpt

He made his money out of publishing but his best coup involved neither that nor profit. It did involve Robert Maxwell. Chris Blackhurst recalls the match John Madejski does not like discussing his best deal or talking about himself. 'I am petrified about the phrase "pride cometh before a fall",' he explains. On the evidence so far, he has nothing to fear. Sixteen years ago, he returned from a trip to Florida with an idea for a new type of publication: a magazine selling cars--without editorial. Like the magazine he had just seen in the US, there would be photos sent in by owners. He gave up his job in classified advertising sales on the Reading Evening Post and, with two partners, went ahead. Today, the 12 regional versions of Auto Trader sell 400,000 copies a week at around l[pound] each (prices vary by region). More cars are sold by advertising in Auto Trader than by any other method.

Madejski owns 67% of Hurst Publishing, the private company that produces it. He is also chairman and owner of a large slice of Reading Football Club and chairman and holder of 20% of Goodhead Group, the quoted printers. At 51, he is worth an estimated 70 [pounds] million. As with so many successful entrepreneurs, formal education has played little part in his success. After attending |a series of pretty ropey private schools' in the Reading area, he went, he says, |to the university of life'. He adds that he would have liked to have gone to university proper, |but the fact that I didn't has made me more of a fighter. I've got nothing to fall back on if it all goes wrong, unlike university graduates who can use their degrees as insurance.'

He sold encyclopedias for a shortwhile, then sold biscuits for Huntley & Palmer. in 1964, he decided to go round the world for two years. He went to California where he worked on a ranch driving tractors, then sold luxury English cars. 'I got the edges knocked off me After a poor start, I became the top salesman.' His earnings in the US were used to finance the rest of his world trip. He returned to the UK and joined British Motor Corporation, selling specially adapted cars--among his sales was an Austin Westminster to the tallest man in the world, an eight-foot-four-inch Libyan. …

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