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New chief executives for Johnston and Archant

It’s all change at the top of the regional newspaper industry today with the announcement of two key appointments at Johnston Press and Archant.

As widely rumoured since the start of the week, Johnston Press has confirmed that Archant’s current chief executive John Fry will succeed out-going CEO Tim Bowdler next year.

Archant also revealed today that its current group finance director Adrian Jeakings, left, will take over as new chief executive, taking up the role on November 1.

Brian McCarthy, finance director of Archant Regional, will step up to take Mr Jeakings’ role.

The Johnston Press announcement also revealed that 51-year-old Mr Fry will take over as chief executive on January 1 – four months earlier than expected.

Mr Bowdler had already announced his intention to stand down but it was anticipated that this would not happen until May.

Mr Fry has been chief executive of Archant since 2002 prior to which he was president of the information company Dun & Bradstreet.

He said today: “I am extremely excited to be joining Johnston Press and relish the opportunity to build on the success of Tim Bowdler and his team. The company has a strong local media franchise covering large parts of the UK and Ireland which I look forward to developing in both print and digital formats.”

Roger Parry, Chairman of Johnston Press, said: “We are delighted to appoint John as new CEO. The Board started the recruitment process many months ago and we have seen a large number of candidates from both inside and outside the regional media industry.

“John has done a tremendous job at Archant and has exciting plans for developing regional media. The whole Johnston team looks forward to working with him.”

Mr Bowdler added: “I am delighted that the Board has appointed John Fry as my successor. Since John arrived at Archant in 2002 I have greatly admired his abilities and achievements.

“He is ideally equipped to be the next Chief Executive of Johnston Press and it will be a pleasure to hand over the reins to someone for whom I have such a high regard.”

Mr Jeakings, 49, is currently group finance director at Archant and has worked closely with Mr Fry for a number of years.

Before joining Archant he was group finance director of The Stationery Office, a provider of information management services to the government and industry.

Commenting on the appointments, Archant chairman Richard Jewson said: “Archant is fortunate to have extremely able management, well capable of continuing to develop the business. Adrian is ideally placed and qualified to take on the role of chief executive.

“Both Adrian and Brian have contributed a great deal to our success and it is a tribute to John Fry that he has created such a strong management team.”

Mr Jeakings said: “I am delighted to have the opportunity to further develop the business.

Archant has modest borrowings, a robust digital strategy, excellent brands and a dedicated and dynamic team.

“Whilst these are challenging times for consumer media businesses I believe we are well placed to make further progress when conditions improve.”


JP Reporter (24/09/2008 22:54:00)
Anyone else welcoming the drawn and end to the drawn-out long goodbye of Mr Bowdler? Take the salary (special bonus?) and run while the rest take the cuts, redundancies and struggle. Welcome Mr Fry.

outsider looking in (29/09/2008 19:06:04)
The greed of JP in unwise buying of other papers to feed their equally greedy shareholders has cost the jobs of dozens of good honest hard-working journalists. How about some sackings at management level before Mr Fry
arrives? Glad to be out of it a long time ago but so sorry for those hit by this round of job cuts.
Their job prospects cannot be good with thousands of people chasing vacancies.
From what I hear from the front line the remaining hacks are struggling to maintain standards.
Good luck to them all.