Managing Directors of the Media Companies

Josja Zijlstra, Petra Lubbers en Ruud Esser manage the day-to-day business.

josja Zijlstra

Josja graduated in economics at the Erasmus University Rotterdam and has been active in media throughout her working life.

She started her career at the Financieele Dagblad and progressed via VNU’s newspapers in Brabant before finally arriving in the world of magazine publishing. There she gained 20 years’ experience in various posts at VNU/ Sanoma and TMG. She also worked for these companies in Romania and Ukraine respectively. She lived in Ukraine for four years and transformed a greenfield magazine publisher into a company with magazines, a newspaper, websites and radio.

Josja has been working for Novamedia since 2014 as chair of company’s three media Managing Directors. In this role, she spent her first two years building the new ECI and has been Managing Director of the publishing companies since May 2016. She also sits on the Advisory Committee of the Royal Netherlands Book Trade Association (Koninklijke Vereniging voor het Boekenvak).


petra lubbers

Petra Lubbers joined Novamedia in 2016 as one of three Managing Directors Media. Her main responsibility is to manage and complete the transformation of eci, the former Dutch book club, into an online bookstore. Eci is a subsidiary of Novamedia.

Petra Lubbers graduated in Applied Communications at Twente University in the year 2000. After graduation, she held various magazine and newspaper publishing positions at VNU Magazines/Sanoma and TMG. After 11 years Petra moved to e-commerce company Bol.com to run their online bookstores. In the five years at bol.com, the company became the biggest online bookseller in the Netherlands. Petra’s  team grew from 18 to 60 people, and entertainment stores were added to her responsibility.

Petra joined Novamedia in 2016 because she was attracted to its unique combination of entrepreneurial spirit and social mission. “In my role as Managing Director Media, I’ll be striving to help flourish the book division and, most of all, to support Novamedia’s ultimate goal to encourage people to read more, in the firm belief that reading enriches people’s lives and binds them together”, says Petra Lubbers. She is also the official representative of online bookstores within the Dutch Royal Books Sellers Association (Koninklijke Boekverkopersbond).

Ruud Esser

Ruud Esser, an experienced financial professional, has been part of Novamedia since 1985. Initially via his own accounting firm Esser & Partners BV. Next to Novamedia, Esser & Partners BV offered financial services to a wide range of companies in The Netherlands, Russia, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Cyprus.

In 2001 Ruud Esser sold his company to join Novamedia where he held various financial positions. Ruud Esser’s last position was that of Chief Financial Officer at the Holding Goede Doelen Loterijen, and financial director of Novamedia until his retirement in May 2016.

Ruud was quick to realise that he was not cut out for the easy life of retirement, and decided to rejoin the company in January 2017. His current responsibilities lie with the Novamedia media companies, taking care of the financial management as one of its managing directors.