Back in 2000, when he was hired to oversee Canadian Geographic and The Royal Canadian Geographical Society’s budding websites, Gilles Gagnier could never have guessed he’d be sitting in the publisher’s chair one day.
But this January that’s exactly where Gagnier found himself, after being appointed to the position by the Society’s CEO John Geiger. Gagnier’s predecessor André Préfontaine, Canadian Geographic Enterprise’s publisher since 2006, moved into the position of vice-president of strategic partnerships and custom content. Gagnier’s familiarity and fluency with all sides of the company and the Society, including print, web, education and business — built up through subsequent roles as director of new media and vice-president of content creation, among others — made him the ideal candidate. In fact, his promotion to publisher marks the first time someone has come to the position via the digital side of the publication. And that shift is sure to be immensely beneficial in a quickly evolving industry.
“Goal one,” says Gagnier, “is to continue to produce the best publication possible. We’ve had the highest editorial interest score of any Canadian magazine for the last few years, and we will maintain and improve that, always recognizing that we must reach more readers online and through social media.”
Goal two is supporting and strengthening Canadian Geographic Education. “It’s a thriving and increasingly vital part of the company, already with a community of more than 10,000 teachers,” he says. “We’ll continue to produce high-quality, engaging materials with them, honouring the Society’s crucial mission of making Canada better known to Canadians and to the world.”
Gagnier will guide the magazine as it continues to protect and respect the traditions that made Canadian Geographic the proud, renowned and trusted brand it is today — all while rising to the growing needs of readers who split their time between paper and screens, he says. “That balance is how we will continue to thrive.”