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Scotsman MD leaves in JP management shake-up

The boss of Johnston Press’s Scottish division has left the business as part of a series of management changes across the regional publisher.

Andrew Richardson,  managing director of The Scotsman Publications Ltd for the past two years and boss of JP’s Scottish operation since last February, is being replaced by Stuart Birkett, who until now has headed up the company’s North East division.

Andrew joined JP as a business development manager in 2007 having previously worked for biscuit maker McVitie’s and drinks giant Diageo.

News of his departure was announced in an email to staff this morning by chief executive Ashley Highfield which also outlined a series of other management changes.

Stuart moves to Edinburgh from his current role as MD of the North East Publishing Unit, which includes the Sunderland Echo, Hartlepool Mail and Shields Gazette.

Taking over in Sunderland will be Stephen Plews, currently managing director of the group’s Scarborough and East Yorkshire operations, while Stephen’s role will be merged into that of West Yorkshire MD Helen Oldham.

Wrote Ashley:  “We have today informed the Scotland Publishing Unit staff that Andrew Richardson is leaving his position as managing director for the Scotland Publishing Unit.

“Andrew has been within the company for over 5 years and has held the role of MD for the last 2 and a half years. We wish Andrew well for the future and thank him for his significant contribution to the business.”

Other existing divisional MDs including John Bills (South Yorkshire and North Midlands), Gary Fearon (North West), Richard Parkinson (South and East Midlands) and Karl Dimmock (South) remain in their positions.

Johnston Press has refused to comment further on the announcement.

Rumours of Andrew’s departure began to circulate yesterday after being announced prematurely in a Tweet by former Scotsman editor John McLellan.

He later added:  “It seems staff only learnt the news from my tweet. Sorry I mucked up tomorrow’s announcement. That’s social media for you.”


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  • January 16, 2013 at 10:46 am

    Surely it’s only a matter of time before it’s armaggedon for JP? The Managerial decisions that that treakle down to us proles in advertising (and no doubt others in other departments) are an absolute joke, reminds me of the movie ‘Idiocracy’

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  • January 17, 2013 at 12:42 pm

    Hmm, that’s how it started last year – with the mds. Wonder when this year’s cull will reach us Atex drones?

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  • February 4, 2013 at 2:16 pm

    As a victim of one of JP’s earliest culls, I should be delighted to be a witness to the company’s downfall. However, I find myself so deeply saddened by the decline of the industry and to the regional titles that I used to hold so dear.

    JP’s lack of Plan B and their hell-bent drive for acquisitions – paying top money at the height of the market – and their subsequent cost-cutting blood-lust is painful to observe.

    Ah well, I guess the Johnston family have managed to withdraw much of their inheritance!

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