HarperCollins CEO Charlie Redmayne has led the publishing house since 2013, overseeing a noteworthy list of authors including David Walliams, Hilary Mantel, Cecilia Ahern and Game of Thrones creator George RR Martin. A digitalist and innovator, Redmayne was group digital director at HarperCollins before leaving for two years to set up Pottermore, J K Rowling’s digital publishing business. He served as a lieutenant in the Irish Guards for four years at the start of his career, and has also worked for Sky’s Online Business Unit. Here, Redmayne tells us about playing cricket to relax, taking advice from his wife, admiring Rupert Murdoch, and how inviting his brother Eddie to dinner might just help him secure a table.
- What was your biggest career break?
Getting the backing to launch an internet business in 2000 – it led me into a world that would come to challenge all businesses for the next two decades.
- Have you had a notable mentor – and if so what was it about them that was so inspiring?
My wife – who is invariably right on all matters – and Jon Miller, ex CDO of News Corp who is one of the cleverest people I know and has given me both opportunity and the sagest of career advice.
- What one piece of advice would you give to the 20-year-old you?
Life is a marathon, not a sprint.
- What qualities to do you look for in the people you work with?
Being really brilliant at things that I am not very good at.
- Whom do you admire and why?
Many people – but Rupert Murdoch – because with everything he has achieved he never looks back and just keeps looking forward.
- What does the future of your career look like?
That is probably for others to determine, but I hope it is continuing to run HarperCollins in the UK – it’s a wonderful business full of talented, warm people, working on behalf of some world-class authors.
- If you hadn’t chosen your current career, what would you have done instead?
I wanted (and tried) to be a cricketer – before my career was cut short by a tragic lack of talent.
- What is your biggest extravagance?
- Who would you invite to your dream dinner party and why? (you can invite three people – they must be alive)
My three brothers – James, Eddie and Tom – because they are good fun and their selection is least likely to offend anyone. Also Eddie could probably get us a table somewhere good.
- What do you do to relax away from work?
Play cricket and entertain friends and family at our house in Wiltshire.
- If you could change one thing about Britain today, what would it be?
The fact that people still judge you for where you come from. None of us can control the cards we are dealt – what matters is how we play them.
- What would your last meal be? (please choose a starter, a main course and a pudding)
Le Caprice’s dressed Dorset crab with celeriac remoulade to start, a roast partridge with savoy cabbage, bread sauce and breadcrumbs as a main, and as I don’t have a sweet tooth I’d follow one of our authors, Stuart MacBride’s, policy of having another starter to finish, in this case half a lobster thermidor.