POST Media’s new chief executive officer Moun Ramady is not fazed about taking the helm of a newspaper company at a time when globally the industry is downsizing. On the contrary, he says that in the Cambodian market there is plenty of room to grow.
“All the newspapers in the world are shrinking, and we are growing. People are shutting down, and we are expanding. I see the potential,” he says.
His vision for Post Media’s publications - both Khmer and English editions of The Phnom Penh Post - is expansion, particularly for the Khmer edition, which he describes as “the future of Post Media”.
“[The Post Khmer] is going to overtake the English edition, no matter what,” he says.
“The expat readership for the English edition here is maybe 20,000, but for the Khmer edition, you’ve got a population of 14 million. In the future, the flagship of the company will be the Khmer edition. And this is where our future is.”
Moun Ramady says although the company is operating at a loss, he is confident this will turn around as the fruits of expansion take hold. For example, The Post’s online site is getting between 20,000 and 30,000 hits a day.
“The reason we are in the red is because we invested heavily,” he says, listing all the big-cost expenses the company has recently made, including a wholly owned printing house and last year’s launch of the Khmer newspaper.
“We launched the Khmer publication last year and with any product that comes to the market, you won’t make money straight away – it’s investment and more investment and more investment.”
Further outlay is on the horizon with a new provincial bureau scheduled to open in Sihanoukville in “a few months”, he says, to add to The Post’s headquarters in Phnom Penh and bureau in Siem Reap.
Born in Battambang in 1974, Moun Ramady says he doesn’t remember much of the Khmer Rouge regime in which both his parents were killed, but recalls life was tough in the years that followed.
“I only remember bits here and there – I remember running around asking for food. Everyone was hungry during that period,” he says.
“But I do remember very well when the Vietnamese came and the Khmer Rouge was kicked out of Phnom Penh. It was tough. Everyone had a pretty hard life to survive in the early 80s.”
After finishing school in 1990, he decided to learn English which he regarded as “the way to the future”.
Ultimately his professional studies were undertaken in Australia. He moved to Melbourne in 1996 and completed a Bachelor of business, international trade and marketing, at Victoria University.
He returned to Cambodia in 2006, working as a sales manager for a logistics company, before moving to Post Media in 2009 as a sales executive and then as circulation manager.
He regards his promotion to take charge at Post Media as a sign of the times.
“The younger generation is taking up more leadership and running the country, from business to government,” he says.
Even at Post Media, he feels a shift is underway, with more Cambodians having a bigger role in the company. He points out the new commercial director, the head of sales for the English edition, the circulation manager and the human resources manager are all Khmer.
“It’s very important because we understand better how to interact with the Cambodian community and we would like to see the community working more with us,” he says.
However he believes foreign expat staff are teaching the local employees and journalists “invaluable experiences”.
“The expat colleagues are an important factor as well for Post Media to grow,” he says, elaborating that they bring a different level of knowledge to the paper, including the Khmer edition.
“[The Post Khmer] has raised the bar for the old style Khmer newspapers that have been here for years and years. This is a new playing field, a new competition,” he says.
Post Media’s former CEO Michel Dauguet has left the company to become CEO of a multinational based in South-East Asia.