September 3, 2021

Digital Growth Summit 2021 Speakers

Alan Hunter is the former Head of Digital at The Times & The Sunday Times. Alan will be the host for this year’s Digital Growth Summit.

Alan has been a staple of the digital news media industry for many years. He brings along insights and views that can challenge our speakers and provoke our audience as we try to answer together the question: “What will the news media world look like in 2031?”. 

Alan will bring first-hand experience in digital transformation and growth and a critical mindset flavoured with British humour. 

Kristin Skogen Lund has been CEO of Scandinavian publisher Schibsted since December 2018. Prior to her appointment, Kristin was the Director of the Confederation of Norwegian Enterprise. In 2019, Kristin was presented with the insignia of Knight of the French Legion of Honour.

Kristen will be taking part in our CEO Panel session at the Digital Growth Summit. In her intervention, Kristin will discuss the future of the publishing industry, looking specifically at the challenges and opportunities ahead for Schibsted.

Pierre Louette has been Chairman and CEO of Les Echos – Le Parisien, the media division of the LVMH Group, since March 2018. Pierre Louette was also elected President of the Syndicat de la Presse Quotidienne Nationale (SPQN) in July 2020 and President of the Alliance de la presse d’information générale (APIG) in October 2020.

Prior to this, Pierre was Chief Operating Officer of the Orange Group and a member of its Executive Committee, as well as the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Agence France Presse (AFP). Pierre is a former Senior Advisor to the Court of Auditors, Knight of the Legion of Honor and Officer of the National Order of Merit.

Pierre will be giving a session at the Digital Growth Summit on the role of the news industry in a world dominated by GAFA.

Steven Van Belleghem is a global thought leader in the field of Customer Experience. His passion is spreading ideas about the future of customer experience.

Steven believes in the combination of common sense, new technologies, an empathic human touch, playing the long-term game and taking your social responsibility to win the hearts and business of customers over and over again.

Steven is the author of multiple international bestselling books including ‘The Conversation Manager’, ‘When Digital Becomes Human’, ‘Customers the Day after Tomorrow’, ‘The Offer You Can’t Refuse’ and a technology thriller called Eternal.

Steven will be the keynote speaker at the Digital Growth Summit.

Gert Ysebaert has spent his entire life working in the media industry, combining his passion with a professional career. Gert held various management positions, mainly within the Corelio publishing group. He was publisher of De Standaard, Belgium’s largest quality newspaper, and Het Nieuwsblad, the second largest popular newspaper in Belgium.

When Corelio and Concentra joined forces in 2013 to form Mediahuis, Gert Ysebaert was appointed CEO.  Over the past years he has led the Mediahuis organisation on its path to further digital growth of its services and brands.

Under his leadership and with the acquisition of the Dutch media groups NRC Media, Telegraaf Media Groep, NDC mediagroep, the Irish media group Independent News and Media and Saint-Paul Luxembourg in Luxembourg, Mediahuis has evolved into a leading international multimedia company.

Gert will be taking part in the CEO Panel at the Digital Growth Summit.

Sacha Morard is the CTO/CIO at French publisher Le Monde. Before joining Le Monde, Sacha has held the position of CTO at L’Obs, Nonli and Le Parisien.

At the Digital Growth Summit 2021, Sacha will be speaking about technology led innovation fuelling growth at Le Monde. He will also be taking part in a Q&A on the future of technology alongside Peter Soetens hosted by Alan Hunter.

Louise Story is a journalist with a passion for great storytelling and incisive reporting that impacts the world, and she is a media leader with a track record of helping news companies grow.

Louise is the former Chief News Strategist and Chief Product and Technology Officer at The Wall Street Journal, where she led all news coverage strategy as well as brand-wide product development. Before that, she worked at The New York Times for 11 years in roles ranging from investigative reporting to running the Times’ live video operation to creating company strategic plans.

Louise is currently working on a book project on the history of race and money in the United States.

At the Digital Growth Summit, Louise will giving a presentation on the tech savvy newsroom of the future.

Thomas Baekdal is a digital native media analyst, with experience working in agencies, brands and publishing. Since 2004, Thomas has run since 2004 and since 2010 Baekdal Plus, a subscription-based site for media executives, focusing on future strategies and media trends, as well as stepping up my consulting focus.

Thomas Baekdal will be joining the Digital Growth Summit where he will give a presentation looking at the Future Role of Journalism in a Changing World.

Peter Soetens is the Chief Digital Officer at Mediahuis. Peter has held several positions across the digital team during his time at Mediahuis. Prior to working at Mediahuis, Peter had an extensive career at Belgian broadcaster VRT.

At the Digital Growth Summit, Peter will take a look at the technological challenges we can expect to see in 2030. He will also take part in a Q&A on the future of technology alongside Sacha Morard, hosted by Alan Hunter.

Nic Newman is a Senior Research Associate at Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism. Nic played a key role in shaping the BBC’s internet services for more than a decade.

He was a founding member of the BBC News Website, leading international coverage as World Editor (1997-2001). As Head of Product Development for BBC News he helped introduce innovations such as blogs, podcasting and on-demand video. Most recently he led digital teams, developing websites, mobile and interactive TV applications for News, Sport, Weather and Local.

He has played an important part in the development of social media strategies and guidelines for the wider BBC.

Nic will speak at the Digital Growth Summit on the Current State of Digital News by looking at the latest Reuters Digital News Report.

Emma Tucker joined The Times in 2007 as associate features editor and became editor of T2 within a year. After five years she was appointed editorial director where she helped foster a much closer working relationship between the editorial and commercial teams, before being appointed deputy editor in 2013.

In January 2020 Emma was appointed editor of The Sunday Times making her the first female editor of this paper in more than a century.  She is also previously a reporter for the Financial Times and editor of FT Weekend.

Sam Guzik is a journalist, futurist and product strategist. He is the Director of News Product for WNYC and a Foresight Affiliate at the Future Today Institute. Passionate about building a sustainable future for local news, Guzik has demonstrated results creating innovative, engaging and impactful journalism — and thinking about the business model to support that work. 

Guzik is a graduate of Washington University in St. Louis, Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and the NYU Stern School of Business. Before joining WNYC, he worked at Hearst Newspapers and Newsday.

Katie Vanneck-Smith is the Co-Founder of Tortoise Media. Prior to working at Tortoise, Katie worked as the President of Dow Jones, publisher of The Wall Street Journal. Katie was also Chief Marketing Officer at the Telegraph Media Group and The Times.

She was named Pioneer of the Year at the 2016 British Media Awards. She is vice-patron of the charity, Family Action.

Katie will speak in the “Winners of Tomorrow” session at the Digital Growth Summit, speaking about the rise of Tortoise Media.

Virginia Stagni works as Business Development Manager at the Financial Times, as part of the Commercial Department. She founded and runs the FT Talent Challenge project. Virginia is also author of the soon to be released book “Dreamers who do: Intrapreneurship and Innovation in the Media World”.

Before joining the FT, Virginia had been a start-up founder & entrepreneur; she worked as a freelance reporter for La Stampa.

She is part of the Forbes under 30 list, the Winner of the 30 under 30 International News and Media Association (INMA) Award and Europe Grand Prize Winner (2020). She now sits on the Board of INMA Europe. She is part of the 2021 Women Leaders List by Nova and 2021 Leaders of Tomorrow by St. Gallen Symposium. In 2019 she was listed as one of the Future Leaders by Digiday and in 2016 she was awarded as the Best Italian Entrepreneur Under 25.

Virginia will host a Deep Dive Session at the Digital Growth Summit looking at the role of innovators within publishers.

Raju Narisetti’s current role as Publisher of McKinsey Publishing at McKinsey & Co is the latest in a 32-year global career in media and publishing, during which he has created, reimagined and managed major media organizations in North America, Europe and Asia, as well as being on the frontlines of digital transformation challenges and new ventures in publishing.

Raju worked as a journalist at The Wall Street Journal where, over 14 years, he went from a Reporting Intern to be the Editor of WSJ Europe, and Managing Editor, Digital, of the global WSJ, and part of a team that won the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News for 9/11 coverage. At The Washington Post, Raju was the Managing Editor who helped kick-start the newspaper’s print/digital transformation.

In both iconic news organizations, WSJ and Washington Post, Raju was the youngest and first Person of Color on their mastheads. Raju is also the founder of Mint (, India’s second-largest business news publication.

Jakub Parusinski is a co-founder and editor at The Fix, a publication that aims to crack the media management puzzle insights, solutions and data. A former journalist and media manager, Jakub served as CEO of the Kyiv Post in 2013-14. After an MBA at INSEAD, he worked at McKinsey in London in 2015-2018, specializing in digital strategy and transformation and managing the McKinsey EMEA hub for Digital and Advanced Analytics.

He currently lectures on media business strategy and entrepreneurship at the Stockholm School of Economics in Riga, is a board member of the Media Development Foundation NGO and Outriders media start-up, and manages the Jnomics Media consulting company.

At the Digital Growth Summit, Jakub will present the work of The Fix Media as part of the “Winners of Tomorrow” session.

Markus Schöberl is the Editor and Publisher at pv digest. pv digest is a paod-for trade publication on the reader revenue side of journalism. Prior to starting his career as a self-publishing expert for paid content and press distribution, Markus was a C-level executive at a national press distribution service provider and a subscription marketing company. Both of these were subsidiaries of Axel Springer. He started his career as direct marketing manager at world’s (then) biggest distance retailing company Otto Versand.

Markus will be providing his expertise at the Digital Growth Summit by giving a presentation on the topic “Will there be enough people to pay for news?“.

Steve Dempsey is the Group Director of Publishing Products at Mediahuis Ireland. In his role, Steve leads the product function in Mediahuis Ireland. From his career, Steve has 20 years’ experience in a wide variety of strategic media & communication roles, including marketing, PR and public policy.

At the Digital Growth Summit, Steve will be giving an overview of his article on “Rebundling the news” and also leading a deep-dive session on the topic.

Kaya Maraz is a Norwegian service designer who graduated from the Oslo School of Architecture and Design in the spring of 2021. Maraz has a desire to explore how news media affects us on a daily basis, and how new design perspectives can help us understand why we make the choices we do when consuming news. 

In her presentation as part of the Winners of Tomorrow session at the Digital Growth Summit, Maraz will present her diploma project Nyss; a design solution for political news on digital platforms, done together with co-student and interaction designer Yahang Cheng.

Daniel Daum is the Chief Digital Officer of Rheinische Post Mediengruppe. Before this, Daniel worked in multiple roles across different areas of the media at Prisma Media and

For his session at the Digital Growth Summit, Daniel will present on the topic “The next 10 years in regional news publishing – the future can be bright“.


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