The Business On... Carolyn McCall, CEO, Guardian Media Group

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The Independent Online

Good to see a woman at the top

Indeed. Ms McCall has run the media group, publisher of The Guardian and The Observer, for four years, though yesterday's annual results will be her last: she's joining easyJet in July as the budget airline's chief executive.



She's a high-flyer then?

EasyJet thinks so. Still, sceptics wonder why the airline has hired a boss who's never worked outside the media and has no experience of aviation other than going on holiday.



But at least there's no baggage in her business record?

Hmmm. Yesterday's numbers from GMG revealed a £171m loss for last year, following a £97m deficit over the previous 12 months.



Forget the details, what about the blue-sky thinking?

The future's digital. And free. GMG has invested ever greater sums in its online operations and Ms McCall insists its strategy of not charging for internet content is the right one. With some powerful figures lined up in the opposite camp – not least Rupert Murdoch – it's quite a gamble.



Economy or business class?

Very much the latter, though staff at GMG may not have realised quite how much she has been earning. The pay freeze they've endured doesn't seem to extend to Ms McCall herself. Her remuneration totalled £658,000 last year, up from £498,000 over the previous 12 months – mostly thanks to a generous bonus of £143,000.



Get the duty-free shopping in

Well, Ms McCall does know a thing or two about retail. While helping GMG lose all that cash last year, she found time to take a non-executive director's role at New Look.



When's the drinks trolley arrive?

No news of a leaving party yet. But maybe Ms McCall has some bubbly left over from her Veuve Clicquot Businesswoman of the Year Award in 2008, an honour only slightly overshadowed by her simultaneous resignation as a non-exec at Tesco. She felt compelled to step down when The Guardian accused it of all sorts of naughtiness relating to tax (it was wrong and had to apologise).

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