“Crisis is Always an Opportunity” : Mirja Cartia, CEO of Il Sole 24 Ore
By Alexis Christoforous
As CEO of Il Sole 24 Ore, Mirja Cartia’s goal is to steer the national daily Italian business newspaper into the digital age, while maintaining its reputation as a balanced and reliable source of news.
“We have a tradition of more than 150 years on our backs,” Cartia told the Voice of Business, “and I feel all of the burden, the responsibility of the brand, and all the principles that have been put together in this multimedia group.”
Cartia became CEO of Il Sole 24 Ore in April, and has served on the media group’s board of directors since 2020. Cartia knows she is part of an elite group. Just 3% of all CEOs of publicly traded Italian companies are women, according to the market watchdog Consob.
“I've seen there are advantages not just in my view, but also in many papers, scientific proof of the fact that when you have women in the CEO role, the company is more profitable. It’s able to do more medium long-term planning, which is sustainability at the end of the day. So, there is an effective advantage to have women in the CEO role,” she said.
Cartia believes the strength of the newspaper is the fact that it’s linked to being a multimedia group.
“By the integration of these different business lines, I think we still have a field where we can exploit major visibility and also opportunities in the market,” she said.
Cartia says the pandemic coupled with geopolitical uncertainties, such as the war in Ukraine, is an opportunity for the larger media industry.
“Crisis is always an opportunity, another way to save things, to have the possibility to speak to people and to give them the instruments, the tools to understand what's going on,” she said.
Those tools include not only the newspaper, but radio broadcasts, events, and helping to manage Mudec, Milan’s museum of culture. She said the museum is part of Il Sole 24 Ore’s commitment to education for professionals as well as for the general public.
“In a world full of fake news, I think that what is a distinction for us is, again, the reliability of our news. In these times, people are particularly keen to appreciate the transparency and the reliability of the news. So, the level of our news is always quite reliable,” she said.
The financial newspaper also has a tradition steeped in the community, which is something Cartia is looking to build upon.
Il Sole 24 Ore recently helped organize the annual Festival dell'Economia di Trento which welcomed 20,000 visitors and more than 100,000 streamers. Over four days, the festival hosted hundreds of panelists, including Nobel prize winners and members of Parliament speaking about issues of the day. Cartia calls it an “iconic” event that she hopes to duplicate in the future.
“It was a great success,” she said. “We understand that we want to attract young people that are the readers of the future. Therefore, there were a number of podcasts on blockchain, on crypto art, on metaverse. We put together elements that are liked by the readers of the future.”
Cartia also believes Italy represents an enormous untapped opportunity for American investors. “I think investors from abroad can still find opportunities in a niche market,” she said. “Sometimes, little entrepreneurs in Italy are great in scientific goals, and I really hope that the media, and therefore also our group, can have a role in this storytelling.”