Stuart Birkett, a former boss of JP’s North-East division which includes the Sunderland Echo, is to take charge of erstwhile rivals ncjMedia, publishers of Newcastle dailies The Chronicle and The Journal.
The appointment follows the announcement earlier this week of the departure of Russell Borthwick, previously regional managing director of all TM’s North-East titles.
In a further announcement, Bob Cuffe is returning as managing director of TM’s Teesside subsidiary Gazette Media Company, publisher of the Teesside Gazette.
The announcements were made to TM staff today by Steve Anderson-Dixon, the newly-appointed MD of Trinity Mirror Regionals.
Before leaving JP, Stuart briefly held the role of managing director of its Scottish titles but his role disappeared in a restructure which saw Helen Oldham take over responsibility for The Scotsman, Edinburgh Evening News and Scotland on Sunday while Stephen Plews took charge of the group’s Scottish weeklies.
Born in the North East, he is a Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Northumberland and a non-executive Director of Northumberland Tourism.
Said Steve: “I am very pleased to announce the appointment of Stuart Birkett to the position of managing director of NCJ Media Limited. Stuart has an excellent commercial and general management pedigree acquired over many years, having been managing director of Tweeddale Press, then Johnston Press Regional Managing Director North East where he was responsible for 16 daily and weekly newspaper titles across North East England and the Scottish Borders.”
Bob returns to the Middlesbrough business two and a half years after being axed from Trinity Mirror in a previous shake-up.
He was MD of ncjMedia until March 2012 when he left the business along with his North West and North Wales counterpart Warren Butcher.
Said Steve: “Bob has a long and successful history with the Teesside business, first in commercial management and latterly as Managing Director of GMC and Regional MD of Trinity Mirror North East.
Bob, as I’m sure you are aware, lives and breathes Teesside and has established himself in the business community over a great many years. His local knowledge, commercial acumen and business connections will undoubtedly be of great value.”