Obituary: Anthony Nares

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The Independent Online
Anthony Nares was one of the most innovative publishers in the world of British business magazines, and was responsible in the late Seventies and early Eighties for the creation of two of its most profitable titles.

After careers as an encyclopaedia salesman in Argentina, a copywriter at the advertising agency Young and Rubicam and in running a marketing consultancy, he devised a new publication, Marketing Week, aimed at challenging the then dominant weekly advertising magazine, Campaign, owned by Michael Heseltine's Haymarket Publishing. In 1978 this was regarded as lunacy of a high order.

Nares raised the money for his new company, Marketing Week Publications, by canvassing friends and neighbours in Knightsbridge, and set out to challenge the mighty Campaign. As ever with Nares, there were one or two details left unresolved, not least the appointment of an editor. He was fortunate in finding Michael Chamberlain, who had recently left Campaign, and Chamberlain became his partner as editor and publisher.

Still, no one else in the advertising business thought that marketing people could be reached by a giveaway magazine in such a way that advertisers would find attractive. At first they weren't; the magazine was deadly dull and its revenues virtually non-existent. Haymarket however failed to respond to the challenge, and gradually a group of skilled journalists was recruited, and an aggressive sales staff. Thus one of Britain's most profitable business magazines was created.

In 1982 Marketing Week Communications, still a minnow in trade publishing terms, was bought by another new company, Centaur Communications, headed by Nares's friend Graham Sherren. Sherren had already launched and floated one successful trade publishing house, Morgan-Grampian, and Centaur brought with it much-needed investment funds and, for a short time, the rather less obviously beneficial presence of the former managing director of Express Newspapers, Jocelyn Stevens.

The Eighties were high days for trade publishing, as both display and classified advertising boomed, and later that decade Nares, as Centaur's managing director, had his second brainwave, Money Marketing, a magazine aimed at financial intermediaries. Despite competition from Emap and Financial Times magazines, Money Marketing provided the important second leg of Centaur, a company now turning over pounds 41m, owning a dozen or so major trade titles (and, for some reason, Linguaphone), and expected to float on the Stock Market.

Nares was one of life's cavaliers. Capable of driving his staff to distraction by firing off ideas by the score with little sense of their practicability, he was almost universally liked by his colleagues and customers, which can't be said of all trade publishing executives, who tend to embody the roundhead tendency. His particular skill, apart from coming up with two very good ideas, was his ability to motivate his sales staff with the same "never mind the odds" gusto which he embodied.

A one-time Blues officer, Nares hunted and shot, waterskied on what he called his "lake" somewhere off the M4 and skied with the same audacity he brought to all his activities. He was killed in an avalanche while skiing in the Swiss Alps.

Stephen Foster

Anthony James Nares, publisher: born London 17 December 1942; married 1975 Thomasin Gilbey (one son); died Klosters, Switzerland 19 February 1996.