The UK Association of Online Publishers (AOP) has appointed Simon Waldman, group director of digital strategy and development for Guardian Media Group, as its new chairman.

Waldman takes over from Bill Murray, managing director of group business information strategy for Haymarket Publishing, who has chaired AOP since its creation in July 2002.

The agreed term of Waldman’s role will be two years, with the fifth AOP online publishing conference, taking place on 4 October 2006, marking the official handover point.

Murray will continue to play an active role in the association representing Haymarket Publishing, supporting AOP in its mission to deliver understanding of the role of published content in the digital lives of consumers.

Guardian Unlimited was among the seven founder members of AOP, and Waldman has chaired the AOP consumer research group during the past four years.

Simon Waldman comments: "I'm delighted and privileged to be taking the chair at AOP at this fascinating and crucial time for our industry. The organisation brings together a unique mix of media owners - and its growth over the last four years is a testament to the spectacular efforts of Alex White and Bill. However, in these rapidly changing times, there are always new challenges to be faced, and I hope that in the coming years AOP can continue to provide a valuable service to its members, and remain at the forefront of debate about the future of digital publishing.”

Bill Murray comments: “Chairing AOP from its inception through to the very significant organisation it is today has been a real privilege, and has been made more manageable - and a lot more fun - by the support and immense contributions of fellow Board members and the fabulous work of Alex and the AOP executive. Simon was there at the start and has been a constant support and inspiration both to me and to the whole organisation. Simon has a vision, depth of understanding of online and a mighty track record that will provide AOP with the strongest possible guidance and leadership as it enters its next phase. I look forward to supporting Simon and the team and continuing to benefit from AOP membership”

Alexandra White will continue in her role as director of AOP, managing the activities and running of the association, reporting to the AOP Board.


About AOP

The UK Association of Online Publishers (AOP) is an industry body representing multimedia digital publishing companies that create original, branded, quality content.

Under Murray’s leadership, AOP has grown from a base of seven founding online ‘pioneers’, to quadruple its Board membership and cement its position in representing the interests of the cream of digital content creators in the UK, spanning business-to-business and consumer publishing.

Including its affiliate and associate members, AOP now champions the interests of approximately 160 companies from diverse backgrounds including newspaper and magazine publishing, TV and radio broadcasting, and pure online media.

Board members include: AN Digital, BBC, BSkyB, Channel 4, CMP Information, CNET Networks, Condé Nast Interactive, Dennis Interactive, The Economist Group, Emap, Financial Times, Future Publishing, GCap Media, Guardian Unlimited, Haymarket Publishing, Independent Digital, IPC Media, ITV Online, News International, Reed Business Information, Reuters, Telegraph Media Group, Trinity Mirror, VNU Business Publications and Which? In addition, PPAi (Periodical Publishers Association Interactive) retains a corporate seat on the AOP Board: representing the interests of magazine publishers online.

Together AOP members publish around 1,800 products (AOP Census 2006) and their websites have a combined audience of almost 20m users, or an active reach of 68 per cent of the UK internet population (source, Nielsen/NetRatings, Q4 2005).

AOP presents a unified voice to industry and Government, specifically to address issues and concerns relating to all areas of digital publishing. AOP publishes original research, hosts forums, conferences and events, covering a range of topics from paid-for-content, subscription models and data protection, through to copyright, content management, new technologies and audience measurement.

The AOP Online Publishing Conference & Awards 2006
The AOP autumn Online Publishing Conference & Awards is its annual industry event. It attracts the biggest names in digital media to discuss the challenges and opportunities facing the industry and celebrate outstanding achievement. The 2006 event will be held on 4 October at the London Hilton, Park Lane.

Katy Howell
immediate future Ltd
0845 408 2031

Published on: 12:00AM on 8th September 2006