Full Circle: From Intern to Chief Executive

Interview with Nick Sargent, CEO of The Art Newspaper

Nick Sargent, CEO, The Art Newspaper

Nick Sargent understands the importance of local interest, audience and nuance and its intersection with global reach and community. With the Art Newspaper he is working hard to nurture a growing artistic community in regions such as Asia and the Middle East through an enhanced local language approach and supporting the emerging talent. Alongside this he is using two decades of publishing experience to drive increased collaborations with a range of sectors, with a strong focus on the burgeoning luxury market. He has ambition and vision for The Art Newspaper and we were delighted he was happy to share it with us.


 

Nick, you joined as Chief Executive of The Art Newspaper in January 2023. What are your key observations so far and ambitions for your first year?

My foremost observation is the buoyancy of the global art market: the UK, United States, Middle East and Asia are all booming. There is growth across the scale of the art market – at the entry accessible level, commercial and through to luxury. It’s an extremely exciting time to be in the industry and that offers huge growth potential for The Art Newspaper.

The luxury brand market is also thriving and has a very positive view of the Art sector as key to communicating with a high-net-worth audience. There are some very interesting partnerships and sponsorship packages being developed which really does show the influence and reach of the sector.

As far as ambitions go, my main areas of focus are:

Growing awareness and audience reach to a broader demographic and across digital platforms. We have been more Eurocentric in the past and we want to think much more about reporting more internationally and in more local languages.

Enhancing our engagement with established and expanding art fairs producing daily newspapers on site. At Frieze Seoul in September we’ve produced our first bilingual Korean edition. This is a rapidly growing territory in the art world and our presence and commitment to publishing in the local language is important and will further cement our reputation in the art world.

Increase revenue streams through luxury brand collaboration to demonstrate the audience and benefits. This is already working well – with the likes of Chanel and Dior partnering with us in some really exciting projects.

Launching new products – such as a luxury magazine we will bring out in October – to augment our current offering and add much more subscriber value.

 

“We want to personalise the content and really use our platform to showcase a customer’s message and quality offering – for example heritage, sustainability or artisan approach.”

 

How is your extensive experience at Conde Nast helping to shape your vision for The Art Newspaper?

I’ve used my experience and knowledge, particularly of the luxury sector, to help develop The Art Newspaper’s offering and approach. My experience allows me to introduce commercial partners ideas and opportunities that haven’t been accessible in the past through more targeted digital advertising and events, for example.

We know our audience and what they like, but we are also looking at expanding that audience and continually thinking about new ways to engage. There is more content-driven partnership with the luxury sector that we are developing, including more digital activity, podcasts, videos and events, for example.

We want to personalise the content and really use our platform to showcase a customer’s message and quality offering – for example heritage, sustainability or artisan approach that would appeal to a discerning and creative audience. We want to highlight the really interesting collaborations between art and luxury.

 

“I was brand champion from day one of this job and that is not something many CEOs get to experience when they take on a new role.”

 

How are you utilising commercial partnership or collaboration to build the influence of The Art Newspaper and the arts more broadly?

Collaboration is vital to brand awareness and commercial growth and subscribers. Our major focus has been on optimising and enhancing our current relationships with major events like Frieze and Art Basel. I mentioned earlier our dual-language daily newspaper at Frieze Seoul and that is something we want to extend in other regions too.

These partnerships give us a huge opportunity to speak to both people and brands who might not be aware of The Art Newspaper and create visibility in a global industry, to emphasise our influence and how integral we are in the art world.

The partnerships we are developing outside the traditional art industry grow awareness of our brand but also that of our collaborators to a wider audience, generating a symbiotic and beneficial influence. It is a great platform to PR specific projects and to demonstrate brand values and vision. For example, we have worked with one brand to demonstrate the beauty and artistry of watchmaking, emphasising through video and imagery the provenance of the training, skill required and the desire to sustain that for the future.

It is a big opportunity, but we also must be mindful that the collaborations and partnerships are relevant and benefit both organisations. I am completely committed to the authenticity and independence of The Art Newspaper and that is something we consider in any collaboration.

 

The Art Newspaper audience traverses both commercial and subsidised arts sectors. Is there an increased blurring of lines between the two or do they still feel quite distinct and separate?

I think there is a natural delineation between the two areas which we need to manage in one paper. Our very skilled writers and the independence of the talented editorial team manages that balance brilliantly. We must offer clear, concise coverage on both sectors as both are equally vital to our readers and our wider brand.

I do observe some shifts in the market however, and I would say that the subsidised arts sector appears to have a more positive view of the commercial sector than in the past. I would suggest that is in part due to The Art Newspaper and its reporting. We focus very much on co-existence and necessity for both parts and highlight how this can benefit both. For example, the commercial side is doing a lot to support the subsidised side with patrons to support buildings and funding.

There is a concerted effort from the commercial sector to be more inclusive across the whole art sphere and that is important. The innovation and the young talent are expanding many areas such as non- fungible tokens and more digital art is coming through the commercial side, but that will ultimately play into state-funded institutions, and they need to work together. It’s a very delicate balance to report on, but our team pulls it off very well.

 

What do you think 2024 will bring for the global arts sector?

I was born in Hong Kong and have always had an interest in Asia and it is really exciting to see the growth of the arts, particularly events and galleries, in that region. Tokyo Art Beat and Art Basel in Hong Kong were amazing. There are now 300 galleries being run as independent businesses in Hong Kong, creating some very exciting routes to market. The impact of art in encouraging democracy and being accessible is important in Asia, but that will also become more prevalent in regions like Latin America next year.

The US election outcome will have an impact on the creative industries – for example, philanthropy, types of art and even the political focus of it. Some more specific areas of focus include: The subject of art restitution will continue. It is important and is hugely political but will press on and should do so, particularly in the subsidised arts sector. Venice Biennale 2024 is the 60th edition of the worldwide architectural event and this will be a high point of next year. Technology and particularly AI in art is going to be very important and challenging. In the UK the unionisation of museum staff will remain a key topic and that is something that we are committed to covering.

 

And finally, this isn’t your first time at The Art Newspaper – you began your publishing career here as an intern. How do you feel as you reflect back to that starting point and returning as Chief Executive?

I feel an enormous sense of pride that The Art Newspaper has given me not just one but two opportunities to be part of its history and growth. It was wonderful to come back here with such a tight affinity with the brand because of the time I spent here as an intern. I was brand champion from day one of this job and that is not something many CEOs get to experience when they take on a new role. I am also certain that this previous knowledge and connection with The Art Newspaper has been very helpful in the development and implementation of both internal and external strategies in my new role.


Biography – Nick Sargent

Nick Sargent joined The Art Newspaper as Chief Executive in January 2023. Sargent brings to the role more than two decades of experience as a leading media professional. He previously served as chief business officer, culture, at the global media company Condé Nast. Before that he was the publishing director of British GQ portfolio and WIRED Media Group. In these roles he achieved growth across a number of brands and platforms, including print, online, podcasts, video, books and live events. From 2007 to 2014 he worked at The Economist, including as head of client sales, UK.

 

Latest

General Dental Council announces new Chief Executive and Registrar

Andrew Comben appointed new CEO of Britten Pears Arts

Dr Nicholas Cullinan OBE appointed as new Director of the British Museum

Saxton Bampfylde partners with Family Business UK

Professor Robert Mokaya appointed Provost and DVC at University of Sheffield

Celebrating International Women’s Day 2024

Steering the family business forward: Interview with Emma Fox, CEO of Berry Bros & Rudd

Leadership in the age of AI: CEO Breakfast with Doug Gurr, Director of the National History Museum

Sustainability Dinner with speaker James Cameron, Chair of Crown Agents

What will healthcare look like over the coming decade? Interview with Nigel Edwards

Middlesex University announces its new Vice-Chancellor

SafeLives appoints new CEO

Do the right thing: ESG in 2024 – Interview with Lisa Hart Shepherd, CEO of Lamp House Strategy

A Healthy Perspective Podcast – Helen Buckingham, Nuffield Trust

New GPhC Council members appointed for 2024 and 2025

RICS senior governance appointments

An Independent Mind: Sharpening the role of a law firm NED

CLCH appoints new Director of Strategy, Partnerships and Integration

Into Film appoints Fiona Evans as new CEO

An evening for current and aspiring non-executives with Kenny Imafidon

V&A announces Director of Collections and Chief Curator

RNLI appoints new leader to take charity into third century of lifesaving

Erika Lewis appointed CEO at Connected Places Catapult

Alex Frazer Announced as the New Head of Bancroft’s

Sue Baillie appointed as Woldingham’s new Head

Royal Hospital School appoints new Head

The University of Manchester appoints Professor Duncan Ivison as next President & Vice-Chancellor

Championing the Mission – Interview with Jonathan Morgan

Quadrant Chambers appoints Sarah Longden as new COO

New Oasis Community Learning Chief Executive Announced

Rachel Kent made Financial Regulators Complaints Commissioner

Steering the family business forward: Interview with Paul Drechsler CBE

Indhu Rubasingham appointed as Director of the National Theatre

Northumbria University, Newcastle appoints new members to Board of Governors

Professor Tom Crick joins DCMS as Chief Scientific Adviser

Norwich Theatre appoints Tom Sleigh as new Chair

MOSL announces Cliff Kamara as new Board member

Saxton Bampfylde welcomes Partner Hannah Scarisbrick back to the firm

Saxton Bampfylde ranked in Financial Times UK’s Leading Recruiters 2024

The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award Foundation and Association Welcomes Martin Houghton-Brown as Secretary General

Royal British Legion Announces New Director General

English Heritage announces New Blue Plaques Panel Members

Paul Ridd named Director of Edinburgh International Film Festival

City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra announces Lord Tony Hall as new Chair

Team Consulting appoints new CEO

UK Civil Aviation Authority Appoints Rob Bishton as the new Chief Executive

The Box appoints Rebecca Bridgman as Head of Collections and Programme

English Heritage appoints Dr Nick Merriman as its new Chief Executive

Breadth and depth: leading across the regulatory landscape

Who’s Moving in Healthcare – August-September 2023

Wise counsel: bringing an external perspective to Higher Education

Looking through a different lens: a scientific scope from academia to government

Outside In: Leveraging External Perspectives in Higher Education

Samori Gambrah announced as Chair for New Art Exchange

Chris Auty appointed as new Director at London Film School

Cherian Mathews appointed as new Chief Executive of HelpAge International

Dr Dave Smith takes helm as UK’s National Technology Adviser

Now Teach appoints new CEO

A Healthy Perspective Podcast – David Hare MBE, CEO of Independent Healthcare Providers Network

Dr Paul Thompson appointed as British Council Chair

Appointment of new CEO for GLF Schools

Bas Javid appointed new Director General of Immigration Enforcement

New CEO appointed for the UK’s national synchrotron, Diamond Light Source

University of Nottingham appoints new Pro-Vice-Chancellor for its Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences

Béatrice Butsana-Sita appointed new CEO of the British Red Cross

Michael Plaut OBE announced as new Chair of Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama

Will Gompertz announced as the Soane’s new Director

Who’s Moving in Healthcare – June-July 2023

Dr Ghazwa Alwani-Starr appointed as new COO at University of Bath

PA Housing announces five new non-executive members to join board

Storyhouse appoints new CEO: Annabel Turpin

Claire Wood Hill announced as new CEO of The National Brain Appeal

OnBoard Programme broadens the horizon for board membership

James Williams announced as the next Director of the Royal College of Music

A Healthy Perspective Podcast – Sam Jones

#7 Road to Recovery: Integration, inclusion and innovation in the Healthcare sector

Who’s Moving in Healthcare – April-May 2023

SCIS appoints new Chief Executive

Talk with Sir Stephen Wall to celebrate Pride 2023

Celebrating Volunteers’ Week 2023

Celebrating the Contribution of Trustees from Underrepresented Backgrounds to the Arts: Launch Event

A Healthy Perspective Podcast – Nick Costa, UK CEO at Ramsay Healthcare

Challenging Crisis: Learning lessons in Leadership – Charlotte Hill OBE, CEO at The Felix Project

#6 Road to Recovery: Integration, inclusion and innovation in the Healthcare sector

The Air Ambulance Service appoints new Chief Executive

New Director of Tate Modern appointed

BBC News announces new senior appointments

Hosting Panorama’s Global Researcher Conference 2023

A Healthy Perspective Podcast – James Tugendhat, CEO at HC-One

George Watson’s College announces New Principal for August 2024

Iain Conn to chair EngineeringUK

Eunomia appoints sustainability change-maker as inaugural CEO

City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra appoints new CEO

Build better places with people at the core: Interview with Neil Sachdev

New Director appointed at The Foundling Museum

Jesse Jones announced as new Artistic Director at Northampton’s Royal & Derngate

New Headteacher announced for Aylesbury High School

St Aloysius’ College appoints Patrick Doyle as Head of the College

Celebrating International Women’s Day 2023

Our future in our hands: creating lasting and shared prosperity for the nation