Gillian O’Connor, who died earlier this month, was not the best-known editor of Investors Chronicle.
That accolade would probably go to Harold Wincott, editor for 21 years to 1959, or to Sir Andreas Whittam Smith, who later founded The Independent. Arguably, however, Gillian was the most successful. In 1982 she took over a magazine that had been without clear direction for 10 years as it struggled to cope with assaults on the City and on private investment by the combined forces of Labour governments and rising inflation. Five years later the magazine’s weekly sales had almost trebled to 87,000, a figure still unbeaten.
True, Gillian got help from Thatcherism, privatisation and a rampant bull market. But she exploited these tail winds by fostering an editorial environment where good writing was encouraged and staff – once Gillian trusted them – were free to pursue their own ideas. Allied to sharp design, this made the IC a winner.