Immediate Media paper manager Steve Wehrle has retired after more than 50 years of service.
Wehrle officially retired yesterday (10 January), 52 years to the day after he initially joined the BBC. Appropriately enough his first week at work in 1965 involved delivering the new issue of Radio Times to BBC executives, including the director general.
He held a number of different roles at the corporation before moving to the production department in the 1970s.
Immediate Media acquired the BBC Magazines business in 2011.
Colleagues and industry associates attended a retirement party yesterday, at which Immediate Media production director Mal Skelton spoke about Wehrle’s lengthy career and joked: “In 1923 the official organ of the the BBC, the Radio Times, was first published. For some it might seem like Steve has been there from the beginning!”
He praised Wehrle’s professionalism over the years in the face of paper supply chain crises such as strikes and shortages, and “momentous change” in the industry. “Steve’s absolute command of paper affairs has served the business well,” Skelton said. “His commitment has never wavered.”
Wehrle paid tribute to colleagues and paper suppliers he had worked with over the years and said the seismic and stressful events of last year, when Immediate’s main print supplier Polestar went bust, had influenced his decision to retire. He said that his retirement plans included working on the script for “Polestar the disaster movie”.
To mark his retirement Wehrle was presented with a specially-designed cover of Radio Times, on which he features as the cover star.
Immediate Media is expected to be acquired by German media group Hubert Burda, although there had been no further update on the situation at the time of writing.
Wehrle's responsibilities have been taken over by Emma Purdy, who was already a member of the Immediate Media production team. She has been shadowing Wehrle for the past two years.