Regional newspaper and magazine publisher Archant is to carry out a “strategic review” of its business following the departure of its chief executive last week.
Adrian Jeakings stepped down as CEO of the Norfolk-based publisher after six years in charge.
Now chairman Simon Bax has written to shareholders saying he hoped to announce the appointment of a new chief executive shortly, which would be followed by a strategic review of the business.
Simon also revealed that the company would stop producing full half-yearly financial results as has been the case until now.
“In the past we have produced a full interim statement as if we were a public company,” he wrote.
“As you can imagine this is quite an undertaking by the management team and I am keen to use the time and resource that we expend on this in a more productive way,” he told shareholders.
In lieu of an interim statement, Simon gave shareholders an overview of the group’s current financial performance which he said was “broadly in line with expectations.”
He also said he expected the company to be debt-free by the end of 2014.
Paying tribute to Adrian, he said: “Adrian has led the company through an extremely difficult period for the entire industry and has worked tirelessly to transform the Group. He leaves it in good shape financially and with an excellent management team.”
“I expect to be able to announce shortly the appointment of a new chief executive. Following that appointment we will complete a strategic review of the business so that we can present you with a vision, a summary of our strategy and a clear view of priorities.
Commenting on current financial results he said: “Our half-year financial performance is broadly in line with expectations, and we currently expect reported numbers to be at similar levels to last year.
“A number of initiatives are beginning to show results, though we still face a difficult operating environment in many parts of the business. Cash performance remains strong and we expect this to continue in the second half of the year and anticipate having no bank debt at year end.”
Added Simon: “This is a very special company, with a strong set of values and a reputation for integrity and trust that is deeply rooted in the communities that it serves.
“This is also a company that is undergoing a lot of change as it adapts to the structural challenges facing the industry.
“Based on the short time that I have been here, my belief is that Archant is moving in the right direction. There is an energy and an enthusiasm that is palpable. We can be proud of the strong brands that make up the group and be confident in their future.”
“Although much has been written about the challenges facing our industry I strongly believe that there will always be a need and desire to receive local news and information and it is up to us to be brave and innovative in how we reach our audience and meet the needs of our clients. I am looking forward to an exciting future for Archant.”