The new Master of the Stationers’ Company Trevor Fenwick will be like no other. He has been described by his colleagues at Euromonitor International as the chief disruption officer and by a fellow Stationer as “part Luke Skywalker, part Darth Vader”.
He glories in these descriptions because he is someone who likes to break the mould, to challenge accepted norms and to look beyond the obvious.
“I hope to leave the Company in a better place in a year’s time,” he replies when asked what impact he hopes to make at Stationers during his year in office.
He has certainly been no slouch since becoming a Liveryman on April Fool’s Day in 2008, serving on most committees. He has sat on the Industry and Wine committees, chaired the Membership Development Committee, is a Trustee of the Stationers’ Foundation and has been a Governor of the Stationers’ Crown Woods Academy as well as serving on Court.
He was invited into the Livery by colleagues in publishing who recognised the need for the Stationers to engage with the rapidly evolving world of digital publishing as well as for his experience and knowledge on the subject of copyright and intellectual property which he is passionate about.
As co-founder and executive chairman of Euromonitor, an online international marketing research data and analytics company, he has lived through the transition from ink on paper to digital content publishing. With that comes globalisation and the complexity of controlling intellectual rights for both the author and publisher. This is a topic he has championed on government committees, within the Professional Publishers’ Association (where he is Board Member), the European Data Publishers’ Association and at the Stationers’ Company.
He welcomes the new draft European Copyright Directive with its increased protection of rights holders for reuse of their content and data. He relishes challenges and the experience of public performance (he was a chorister at school) so looks forward to the task of writing and giving what he hopes will be challenging and, possibly, amusing speeches as Master.
Passionate about education
On a more practical level he is passionate about the role of education achieving social mobility and will continue to encourage the work of the Company’s Foundation in bringing bursaries to enable young people to attain academic and vocational qualifications and experience that will help them to enter the content and communications trades represented by the Livery.
His father was in print (at Litho Plates, in Clerkenwell) and although Fenwick worked on graphic design there for a short time, he was part of the baby boomer generation where anything was possible and he recognised that the monetisation of content was the way to go.
He secured a BA (Hons) in Economics and Government from the University of Essex (a suitably radical establishment for this convention-breaker) and PostGrad qualifications in International Marketing. These qualifications were just right for the business he has helped lead and grow to a global company with 1,300 employees and offices in 14 countries .
The major focus in the coming 12 months will be on the refurbishment of Stationers’ Hall, a project that will require ambition and vision as the Company seeks to modernise the Hall for the benefit of members and the public whilst retaining the character and sense of history of one of the City’s great livery halls.
This will require fund-raising and Fenwick will help to promote that work during his term of office.
Music is a passion and he is delighted that, in an initiative led by the Stationers and The Hanover Band, all nine of Beethoven’s symphonies will be played during 2019-20 at different Livery Halls, as part of Beethoven in the City, to celebrate the 250th anniversary of the birth of Ludwig van Beethoven starting at Stationers’ Hall with the St Ceciliatide Concert on Saturday 16 and Sunday 17 November this year.
Fenwick will also continue the quest to make the Stationers Company more diverse and to attract younger entrepreneurs and people at the top of their game in the design, digital marketing, print, publishing, paper and educational sectors. Networking in this broad community and the potential for really thought-provoking discussions on common strategic and policy issues relating to those trades is what drew him into the Company, he says..
“The interaction of art and industry and art and science fascinates me still – the poets and the plumbers side by side. We saw print evolve into mass communication with movable type and we are now going through another exciting but challenging era with digital technology,” says the new Master.
“History informs the way we do things but we are always moving forward.”
“ Life is a journey of opportunities and challenges, some taken, some missed. I have been extremely lucky, so far, to have had more hits than misses. There was, and is, no masterplan; just enjoy and make the most of the chances that come one’s way”
Fenwick and his partner Jane, an art consultant, live in Islington and have three sons: James, a mental health nurse; Ed, a film maker; and Fred who is setting up a social enterprise to supply financial software to start up companies in West Africa.
All are ardent Arsenal supporters. Trevor is also a skier, sailor, gardener and committed epicurean.