Frieze Hires Media-Industry Veteran Simon Fox, Its First CEO, to Expand the Company’s Publishing and Fair Empire

Fox will fill in duties previously overseen by Amanda Sharp and Matthew Slotover.

Frieze's new CEO, Simon Fox. Courtesy of Frieze.

Big changes are underway at Frieze, the publishing company and leading UK art fair. Media veteran Simon Fox has been hired as the new chief executive of the business—a first for Frieze, which has previously been led by its co-founders, Amanda Sharp and Matthew Slotover. Fox most recently held the post of chief executive of Reach, a British publisher that owns the Daily Mirror and the Daily Express, among other publications.

It’s a major shift for the nearly 30-year-old art magazine and fair platform. Sharp and Slotover, who founded the magazine with Tom Gidley in 1991, will stay involved in the business but are taking a step back from their current roles as executive managers. “Their involvement will take on a different shape,” said a spokesperson for Frieze. “While they will leave the executive management to the CEO, they will continue to be heavily involved in the relationships that are so important to the business, continuing to shape the future direction of Frieze, its brand and identity.”

The news comes at a time of structural upheaval at the company. Last summer, Frieze magazine’s editorial director of more than two decades, Jennifer Higgie, stepped down, moving to the position of editor-at-large. She is succeeded by former senior editor Andrew Durbin, who took up his new position this month. Then, in September, Frieze’s parent company, Endeavor, made the surprising move to postpone its highly anticipated IPO. Back in 2016, the media-and-events conglomerate had purchased a reported 70 percent stake in Frieze, though the company constitutes only a silver of Endeavor’s overall holdings.

“I am delighted to be joining Frieze at such an exciting time,” said Fox in a statement. “I look forward to working with the team to build on the quality and expertise that has been created over the last 28 years. It is an honor to be entrusted with this iconic brand and to further grow its presence in the market.”

At Reach, Fox oversaw major acquisitions and grew the company into the UK’s largest digital news publisher. He previously held senior posts at HMV Group and Guardian Media Group. He stepped down from Reach in July of last year after seven years at the helm of the company.

“We feel very fortunate to have Simon join the team and have very much enjoyed getting to know him,” Slotover and Sharp said in a statement. “He brings intelligence, sensitivity, and wide-ranging experience, and is as passionate as we are about quality and innovation. We feel confident that he will provide excellent leadership and are looking forward to working with him in this next phase of Frieze’s development.”

The incoming CEO, who takes up the post on April 2, will helm Frieze’s various publications, including Frieze, Frieze Masters, and Frieze Week, as well its art fairs in London, New York, and, most recently, Los Angeles. He will also oversee Frieze Studios, a media production platform, and its performance program Frieze Music.

Sam Zussman, co-president of IMG’s media and events business, a subsidiary of Endeavor, said that Fox’s “ability to manage businesses that require respect for editorial integrity and artistic freedom will be a valuable complement to our global Frieze team.”

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