Annemarie Van Gaal

Annemarie Van Gaal


Founder and CEO of AM Media publishing company. Founder of the Independent Media Group, Investor.

Annemarie Van Gaal profile image

Born on October 9th, 1962 in Helmond, the Netherlands. Mother of two sons Christopher (1984) and Luca (1994). Annemarie started her career in publishing in 1985 as executive assistant to one of the managing directors of VNU (United Dutch Publishers) in the Netherlands. In 1987 she got promoted to the position of project manager of one of the subsidiaries of VNU.

In 1989 Gorbachov was coming to power in the Soviet Union and his political ideas and words like perestroika and glasnost triggered Western companies to start a joint venture in Russia. In 1989 VNU formed a Russian-Dutch joint venture 'Moscow Illustrated Press' which published the monthly magazine Moscow Magazine and the weekly newspaper The Moscow Guardian.

In 1990 Annemarie was sent to Russia by VNU to manage their Russian joint venture Moscow Illustrated Press, which published the monthly magazine Moscow Magazine and the weekly newspaper The Moscow Guardian. Due to the differences in culture between the Russian and Dutch parties and the impossibility to reach a break-even situation in the coming years (given the financial structure of the jv), VNU decided at the end of 1991 to freeze their activities in Russia. In the beginning of 1992 Annemarie left VNU. New and pioneering ideas drove her to start her own private company in Moscow together with former VNU-collegue Derk Sauer.

In March 1992 Annemarie founded Independent Media in Russia. Due to its unconventional approach to the market, Independent Media rapidly grew from a company with a turnover of $ 1.5 million and 15 employees in 1992 to the leading publishing house in Russia with a turnover of almost $ 80 million in 1998 and 700 employees. Independent Media has been awarded with numerous prizes and awards over the years, amongst others:

• East Europe Prize for Enterprises' (in 1994)
• IPC Award for 'Best International Launch' (1994)
• The American Chamber of Commerce prize for 'Best Business in Russia' (in 1996)
• IPC Award for 'Best International Publishing joint venture' (jv with Hearst )

Since 1998 Independent Media is the leading publishing house in Russia and in the Ukraine in the field of consumer magazines, newspapers and trade publications. Independent Media publishes 39 consumer magazines (amongst others the Russian editions of Cosmopolitan, Good Housekleeping, Harper's Bazaar, Marie Claire, Men's Health) and a number of newspapers (amongst others: The Moscow Times (English language daily, 1992), The St. Petersburg Times, Vedomosti (Russian language daily in a joint venture with Financial Times en The Wall Street Journal, since 1999).

In 2000 Annemarie decided to leave Russia to provide a Dutch school education for her sons. In March 2000 she was appointed General Director for the Telegraaf Magazine Group (TTG) in the Netherlands (TTG is the second largest magazine publisher of the Netherlands), to oversee their Dutch magazine activities as well as its international expansion. She re-organized the magazine division, defined strategic plans, launched a number of magazines for TTG, aquired a number of important licenses, ceased publication of non-profitable magazines etc.

Mid 2001, due to a 'conflict of interest'-situation between the shareholders of Independent Media, she decided to step down as general director for De Telegraaf. She continued as a member of their supervisory board and advisor to both the management of the magazine group as well as to the Executive Board.

She is often appointed the industry expert for a number of venture capital investors (CVC, BC Partners) to help them in the process and due dilligence of the purchase of media companies. In the begining of 2003 she founded her own publishing house AM Media. Currently she owns and manages a real estate company, a publishing house and she is active as a private equity investor in the Netherlands as well as abroad.