The chief executive of one of the UK’s leading regional publishers is stepping down.
Archant has announced the resignation of its CEO Adrian Jeakings, who has led the group from deep recession six years ago into today’s “calmer waters”.
The 55-year-old Newspaper Society figurehead will leave at the end of the week.
“I have been chief executive for almost six years and have been considering for some time whether or not it is time for me to move on,” he said.
“Now that our new chairman, Simon Bax, has his feet under the table I have decided that now is the right time for me to step down.”
Since arriving as group financial director in 2002, he has worked to transform the company from a primarily print and product-focussed group to a customer and community-focussed media solutions business.
Adrian took over the CEO role in November 2008 from John Fry, who moved to rival publishers Johnston Press. On his appointment as chief executive, Adrian was faced with the double whammy of a severe recession and structural change in the industry.
Despite posting a £6.7m debt on a £126m turnover in 2013, the company expects to be debt free by the end of this year.
“Over the last six years our revenue has consistently outperformed the rest of the industry, we have increased our expenditure on innovation and we are on track to have zero debt by the end of the year which puts us in a very strong position to take on the next stage of our evolution with a new leader,” he added.
The outgoing CEO went on to tell his workforce: “It has been an honour to lead Archant through one of the most difficult periods in the company’s history, I will miss working with you and I would like to thank you all for your help and support.”
Archant chairman Simon Bax added: “Adrian has made a major contribution to the group over the last 12 years and we want to both thank him for his dedication and careful stewardship of the business over an extremely difficult period for the industry and to wish him every success in his next challenge.
“We are also delighted that he will continue his association with Archant by representing its interests on the boards of both the Newspaper Society and the Press Association.”
The company, which employs 1,650 people in a portfolio which includes four daily newspapers, 60 weekly papers, around 80 monthly consumer, contract and regional magazines and over 180 websites, said news of Adrian’s successor will be announced in “due course.”