Biggest UK corporate media companies directly linked to a fifth of the FTSE 100

The top five media companies in the UK are part of a network linked to around 20% of the Financial Times Stock Exchange’s list of top 100 companies, according to a Leeds Now investigation.

The FTSE 100 Index shows in real time what the companies with the highest market capitalisation listed on the London Stock Exchange are.

We assigned an influence index to each company, based on how connected their board members are to other corporations.

ITV and RELX have an influence index of 8.7 and 8.5, showing that their board members sit on multiple other boards of directors within the FTSE 100.

The media industry generally aims to appear as independent from commercial influence. However, our investigation found that links present between board members show that high-ups in media companies are involved in other industries too.

ITV’s Dame Carolyn McCall and Anna Manz are examples of this. Dame McCall is also a director of Burberry, a London-based high-end fashion brand and Manz is connected to Johnson Matthey, a multi-national company focusing on chemicals and sustainable technologies

RELX’s Adrian Hennah is a board director of Reckitt Benckiser, a producer of health, hygiene and home products alongside Marry Harris, from ITV. Additionally, Graeme David Pitkethly, one of the directors of Pearson plc and Informa’s Josh Rishton are both directors of Unilever, a consumer goods company.

Leeds business expert Nick Wayne explains that “media organisations have a handle on what is happening in business generally, therefore executives associated with the media industry are viewed by other industries as ‘fountains of knowledge’ with their fingers on the pulse of both commerce and technology.” 

As well as the connections shown in the diagram, the network goes beyond the FTSE 100, according to Nick Wayne:

“Other ways business executives can be connected is through bodies such as the Institute of Directors, CBI, networking groups, Chambers of Commerce and to work with Third Sectors as Trustees or Directors. Arts and Sports organisations attract top executives to donate their time and expertise and these organisations create informal introductions cross-industry. “

The interconnected network board members have within the FTSE 100 demonstrates how these companies are dependent on expansion and reach across other companies to increase profits.

“These executives have transferable skills and being known and working in collaboration across disperate industries enhances their CVs and opens opportunities for future positions”, says Nick Wayne.

About the Author

Eliza Lita, Jacob Lyon, Kieran Owen and Alvaro Casas
Second year Journalism students at Leeds Beckett University. Reporters for Leeds Now.

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