Terry Mansfield of Hearst U.K.

LONDON — Terence G. “Terry” Mansfield, the energetic British magazine executive with a perpetual twinkle in his eye, passed away Saturday at the age of 81. The cause of death was the coronavirus, Hearst U.K. confirmed on Monday.

Mansfield was the former president and chief executive officer of the National Magazine Company Ltd., Hearst’s international publishing arm. He was the first non-American to serve on Hearst’s board of directors, and was awarded a CBE, or Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire royal honor in 2002 for his service to the magazine industry.

“Terry was a brilliant global strategist and valued member of our board and extended corporate family,” said Steven R. Swartz, president and ceo of Hearst. “His passion and commitment to build the Hearst brand abroad were integral to our international growth.”

Frank A. Bennack Jr., executive vice chairman and former ceo of Hearst, called Mansfield “an international publishing icon” and pointed out that his career spanned half a century and included magazine publishing activities in nearly 40 countries.

“As the first non-American director on Hearst’s board, Terry brought a global perspective that few could match. His excitement about the business was infectious and eternal,” Bennack said.

Gilbert C. Maurer, director and former chief operating officer of Hearst, said Mansfield was one of the best judges and coaches of editorial talent that he has known. “Talents like his are rare, and the magazine industry will miss him.”

Mansfield, who was all charm and humility — with zero arrogance — was also a great supporter of emerging fashion talent in the U.K. He served as chairman of Graduate Fashion Week, and two years ago was in New York to host a lunch for journalists and editors at Hearst Towers when the student designers mounted a showcase there.

Caroline Neville, president of CEW U.K., recalls Mansfield’s support of the organization, when it was founded 24 years ago. “He championed female executives within the Hearst organization, bringing them up through the ranks to key positions and there was a synergy with what CEW were doing for women in the beauty industry. He was charming, effective and well-liked. We will all miss him,” she said.

Helen Brocklebank, ceo of Walpole who spent much of her career at the National Magazine Company, most recently as director of editorial partnerships for Harper’s Bazaar and Town & Country, described Mansfield as a “guiding light” during her whole career. “He never stopped helping me, and was unbelievably generous, loyal and kind — without ever expecting anything in return. And he was hugely encouraging of young talent. A model of leadership. So many people owe their careers to him.”

Glenda Bailey, who stepped down earlier this year as editor in chief of Harper’s Bazaar and who has taken up a new role as a global consultant for Bazaar’s 29 global editions, described Mansfield as “warm, witty and wise. He had a lovely, cheeky smile — and he made everyone feel at ease. The world is a less beautiful place without him.”

Bailey worked with Mansfield at Hearst and on outside projects, including Graduate Fashion Week and Historic Royal Palaces charities. She said she spoke to him not long ago, and he was cooking up “great future plans” for Historic Royal Palaces. “And I was looking forward to working with him. I admired and respected him enormously,” she said.

Stephen Quinn, the longtime publisher of British Vogue who reported to Mansfield for 12 years when both men were working at the National Magazine Company, said he was “the most driven person I have ever known. He was intense, serious, competitive, and very very enamored of the American way of working. And he adored working for Hearst.”

Quinn said that when he was publisher of Harper’s & Queen in the Eighties, he and Mansfield traveled the world together, doing deals and promoting their magazine brands to the hilt. “One of his favorite sayings was ‘God is not necessarily a Vogue reader,'” recalled Quinn. “We’d be everywhere together — and we were fiercely competitive with Condé Nast.”

Their friendship endured even after Quinn joined Condé to launch British GQ, and they’d regularly meet for breakfast or lunch. He once told me ‘Never retire!’ And he never retired from Hearst.”

Mansfield served in Britain’s Royal Air Force for two years, stationed on Christmas Island in the Pacific, where he worked with the Forces Broadcasting Service. Throughout his  long career, he never lost the bearing of a British airman, always standing ramrod straight with clothes that even at the end of a long day stayed remarkably unwrinkled and crisp. It would not have been surprising to see him whip off a firm salute. 

He began his 50-year career in advertising and publishing in 1961 at Condé Nast, where he worked as an assistant advertising manager and sales rep on Photography, House & Garden, Wine & Food, Men in Vogue and Vogue magazines. In 1966, he moved to Queen magazine, where he stayed for three years before Queen was acquired by the National Magazine Company in 1969.

Once at Nat Mags, he climbed the ad sales ladder at Harper’s Bazaar, which later became Harper’s & Queen when the two magazines merged. He was that magazine’s publisher for five years before being promoted to a succession of management roles in the company.

He was named president and ceo in 2002, following a decades-long tenure as managing director of the National Magazine Company. Though he retired officially in 2003, he remained a consultant to Hearst, focusing on new business development and scouting young talent across the U.K. and in Europe.

Mansfield was also a member of Hearst’s board of directors for almost 10 years, starting in 1993, and served as chairman of Comag U.K., a magazine distribution partnership between Hearst and Condé Nast for eight years, starting in 1984.

He is survived by his wife, Helen, two daughters, Victoria and Anna, and their respective families.

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