John was until recently the regional MD for the group’s South Yorkshire and North Midlands titles but has been filling the post on an interim basis since a restructure last month.
The restructure saw a streamlining of the group’s regional divisions from eight to five as well as the creation of the group MD role.
Said Ashley: “John has a solid background in strategic operations and business transformation and is a strong leader who will bring inspiration, motivation and positive direction to the role.
“He will be instrumental in forging stronger relationships between our editorial and commercial teams as we continue to grow our business.”
John added: “I’m enormously excited to have the opportunity to help take our business forward at what is such an important time of industry transformation.
“Ensuring we continue to focus on areas of strategic growth whilst delivering operational excellence is my priority.”
John first joined Johnston Press in 2008 in a consulting capacity and he was appointed MD of the North Midlands and South Yorkshire publishing unit in 2010.
He began his career in advertising at Trinity Weekly Newspapers, before being named as President of Trinity Canada Inc.
Over the following 13 years John held various senior positions at Trinity, including that of director of integration during the company’s merger with Mirror Group Plc.