Louise Blouin

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Louise Thérèse Blouin (born October 15, 1958), is a French-Canadian magazine publisher and philanthropist. She is the CEO and President of Louise Blouin Media, and the founder and chairman of the Louise T. Blouin Foundation.

Early life[edit]

Louise Thérèse Blouin was born in Montreal, the youngest of six children. Having worked part-time as a book-keeper at school, she went on to McGill University to study commerce, later switching to Concordia. She did not graduate but she did study at the Owner/President Management program at Harvard Business School.

In the early 1980s, she met and married David Stewart, a member of the Canadian MacDonald tobacco family. The marriage was annulled within a year for unknown reasons.[1]

Media career[edit]

Having later married John MacBain, the two acquired Auto Hebdo, a classified car trading magazine, in 1987. The business grew into Trader Classified Media, which acquired around 400 classified-advertisement publications and – as an early adopter of the internet – 60 websites over the next ten years in over 20 companies, with sales rising from $2m to $400m,[2] and focus expanding from cars to include boats, real estate and jobs. As Chairman and CEO of Trader Classified Media for over 15 years, Louise Blouin and her management team and over 5,000 employees, was able to turn around over 80 companies. At Trader, Blouin had launched 60 magazines and compiled over 400 publications internationally, which yielded 9 million readers per week.

Hebdo changed its name to Trader.com NV in 2000 after holding IPOs on NASDAQ and the Paris Premier Marché.[3] It continued an acquisition spree that impacted its operating profits for two years, before becoming profitable in 2002. Blouin however, had exited the company in 2000 and not long thereafter divorced her second husband.[1]

She later became CEO of international auction house Phillips, de Pury & Luxembourg, but resigned after a year. She started Louise Blouin Media in 2003, and moved into arts publication, acquiring Art+Auction, Gallery Guide, Museums, Culture+Travel, and Modern Painters within three years. She also founded artinfo.com, an arts website.

Blouin has had extensive negative press. In 2010, an article in the New York Post noted controversy over payments to freelance writers for her company's arts publications. One group, WAAANKAA (Writers Angry At Artinfo Not Kidding Around Anymore), has demanded back payments of $18,000.[4] In December 2013, Artinfo.com abruptly laid off 25 international employees. The New York Observer posted a 1,000-word internal email from Louise Blouin to staff explaining that the move was part of a new direction in which "One person doing all and not good we need less of one but many more."[5] In February 2014, the New York Post reported that two former executives, Catherine (Kate) Shanley and Wendy Buckley were suing Blouin for $250,000 in pay and commissions.[6]

In 2013, a fake Twitter account under the name Not Louise Blouin was active, posting Tweets satirizing Blouin as out of touch and entitled. The account drew attention within the art press.[7] As of January 2014, the parody account had gone inactive.[8]

Philanthropy[edit]

Louise Blouin founded the Louise T. Blouin Foundation in 2005 with the aim of raising awareness about the role that culture and creativity can play in resolving global issues. The foundation, which is a partner of the United Nations Office for Partnerships, has two core aims:

  • Encouraging a better understanding of foreign affairs and culture beyond borders through international cooperation, exchange, and dialogue for the 21st century
  • Exploring the broader practical significance of creativity and the creative potential of the human brain[9]

The foundation's projects since its inception include:

The Blouin Creative Leadership Summit[edit]

The annual Blouin Creative Leadership Summit brings together Heads of State, Nobel Laureates, private-sector CEOs, artists, doctors, and leader in the areas of science, technology, culture, business, and politics. The two-day executive-level speaking engagement explores the challenges and opportunities presented by globalization. Delegates discuss the implications of globalization on an array of topics ranging from global health to economics to human safety.[10] The summit is covered by international media outlets and is accessible online via audio podcasts and videos.

The Louise T. Blouin Foundation's flagship event took place at Harold Pratt House, New York City, in November 2006. Its stated aim was:

By bringing together influential leaders in business, technology, government, science, and the arts, the Global Creative Leadership Summit, hosted by the LTB Foundation, hopes to unleash insights that will have practical implications for problem-solving across disciplines. How can business and government leaders benefit from knowing more about how the brain works? How can those who see the world differently come together to break through today’s complex challenges?[11]

Notable speakers included:

The Louise T. Blouin Institute[edit]

In October 2006 the foundation opened the Louise T. Blouin Institute in Shepherd's Bush in west London. A gallery space combined with a centre for the foundation's work, its opening exhibition featured light installation pieces by Californian artist James Turrell. Lecturers organised to speak on the theme of art, light, and science in tandem with the exhibition included Professors Semir Zeki, Martin Kemp, and Sir Michael Berry.

The foundation's website lists the philosophy of the institute as follows:

The philosophy of the Institute will be experimentation, questioning, debate, learning, and there will be two focuses of activity. The first is to present the work of individual artists through temporary exhibitions, installations, performances, and screenings. We will also promote a lively programme of events such as lectures, debates, workshops, think-tanks and summits related to the Foundation’s areas of interest.[17]

Trivia[edit]

  • She is known to have dyslexia, and has often stated her belief in the enhanced creative abilities of those who have the condition.[18]
  • The Sunday Times Rich List 2005 placed her at equal 192nd place, estimating her fortune at £250 million.

References[edit]