Journalism and management career
After a brief spell in local newspapers and at Melody Maker magazine, McIlheney was appointed editor of Smash Hits in 1986, seeing its circulation rise double to 800,000 during his time in the job. From there he moved on to become launch editor of Empire magazine.
In 1994, McIlheney became managing director of EMAP Metro, publishers of titles such as Q, FHM, and Mojo. In 1999 he launched Heat and a year later became chief executive of EMAP Elan, publishers of Elle, Red, and The Face. In 2003, McIlheney moved into new product development, overseeing the launch of Zoo both in the UK and Australia.
At the end of 2006, McIlheney moved to a consultancy role, working on new titles at EMAP. In January 2008 he became editor-in-chief at Sport Media Group. Responsible for a £1 million relaunch in April 2008 of their newspaper titles, the Daily Sport and Sunday Sport, McIlheney left the role the following July after a decline in sales, to another post within the company. In 2009 he launched media consultancy mcilheneybovis with newspaper art director Julian Bovis and has written for publications including The Word magazine.
McIlheney is Chief Executive of the Professional Publishers Association (PPA).
- Mary Braid "Media: Can he take the heat?", The Independent, 2 February 1999
- Stephen Brook "Zoo founder joins Sport papers", The Guardian, 14 January 2008
- Stephen Brook "Daily Sport unveils £1m redesign", The Guardian, 21 April 2008
- Oliver Luft "Daily Sport editor-in-chief leaves role", The Guardian, 22 July 2008