FT education offshoot uses global muscle to expand

January 22, 1999

The media group Pearson has created a management education business and appointed a new managing director to run it.

The business will combine the distance-learning management education programmes offered by the Financial Times group, which is owned by Pearson, with Pearson Education, which publishes management education texts.

Pearson appointed Pippa Wicks as managing director of its management education business this month. Ms Wicks said that she aimed to "ambitiously grow" the business, which is in line for an investment of "several millions" of pounds.

About 8,000 students are enrolled on distance-learning MBA courses offered by the Financial Times. These courses are produced by Heriot Watt University and the Open College, an enterprise which was originally intended to complement the Open University but which was sold to Pearson a year ago.

"The great thing about distance-learning courses is that you can study when it suits you," said Ms Wicks. "For many people it is important to keep earning while they are learning."

Ms Wicks aims to expand the number of students on Pearson's distance-learning courses and will be examining the scope for future partnerships with universities both in Britain and overseas.

She also stressed the scope for partnerships with other educational organisations.

"We want to develop a global business," said Ms Wicks. "We already have two offices in Britain, one in San Francisco and one in Kuala Lumpur. We want to capitalise on this global infrastructure." She will also review the possibility of opening further overseas bases.

Marjorie Scardino, Pearson's chief executive, said: "Lifelong learning and distance learning in management skills and development is one of the fastest growing sectors of the education market.

"This new enterprise will combine the authority the Financial Times brand commands in the international business community with the pedagogic pedigree of the Pearson Education imprints."

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