The MT Interview: Carolyn McCall

One of the toughest operators to have risen through the Guardian Media Group's ranks, her role as CEO is to shore up its national newspapers as it pushes deeper into online media and broadcasting. But what's it like working with an all-powerful editor-in-chief?

by Andrew Davidson

The boss of the Guardian has cut her finger on some paper - pesky stuff. 'I'll just be a minute,' says Carolyn McCall, looking for a plaster. Could be worse, I say. Steve Esom had a full-scale nosebleed when I interviewed him as boss of Waitrose. Tissues and blood everywhere. It's the effect I have.

McCall, plastered up, laughs. You can see why so many like her. Aged 46, tall and good-looking, quick to banter after years spent working with journalists, she has an easy, upbeat demeanour that quite lulls you into thinking she's among the smiliest people around. And then she can be blunt. Some even think ruthless.

'Not ruthless but tough,' she says, when I put it to her. 'I think Apax was surprised at how tough we can be about business.'

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