Eve Burton, Hearst Corporation

Eve Burton

Cutting Edge

Editors’ Note

Eve Burton is on the Hearst Corporation Board of Directors and the board of directors of AOL. She is also a member of the advisory board of the David and Helen Gurley Brown Institute for Media Innovation at Stanford and Columbia Universities. Prior to joining Hearst, Burton served as Vice President and Chief Legal Counsel at Cable News Network (CNN). Burton was a Fulbright Research Scholar at Thammasat University in Bangkok, Thailand. She holds a J.D. from the Columbia University School of Law.

Company Brief

Hearst Corporation (www.hearst.com) is one of the nation’s largest diversified media and information companies. Its major interests include 15 daily newspapers; hundreds of magazines around the world, including Good Housekeeping, Cosmopolitan, ELLE and O, The Oprah Magazine; 29 television stations; ownership in leading cable networks, including Lifetime, A&E, HISTORY and ESPN; and significant holdings in financial, automotive, electronic and medical/pharmaceutical business information companies.

How does your group operate within Hearst?

My team’s obligation is to assist our CEO, the presidents of each division, and our business colleagues worldwide. Our general goal is to provide advice that supports the greater good of the corporation, as well as each individual part of the company. We pride ourselves on being partners with our businesses.

We do a majority of the work in-house, operating as if we were a boutique law firm. This allows us to acquire a deep knowledge of our businesses so that each time we do a new legal project, it’s based on a much larger set of experiences.

Frank (Bennack, former CEO) and Steve (Swartz, CEO) have made it clear that our mission, in addition to being a successful business, is to stand for something more as part of a democratic society. For my team, that has led to a strong commitment to defending free speech principles in the contexts of the digital world where we now live and work.

This has created a culture that has allowed us to hire and keep top notch legal talent.

What makes this company so special?

It starts with leadership and great people. Add to that strong consumer and business-to-business brands that entertain, educate, and inform – combined with a proud history – and you have the main building blocks. This in conjunction with Frank and Steve’s focus on innovation and the need to quickly adapt to a changing world makes for a dynamic company.

Is diversity a key part of Hearst’s value system?

My team is diverse by every traditional measure. Most importantly, what comes from that is a diversity of perspective. There are no “yes” people on our team, and often no right answers such that much of our work is in a gray area. We find in this context that there is a direct correlation between diversity of thought and better legal results.