The move is part of a dramatic streamlining of the regional publisher’s management structures announced yesterday.
Jeremy, left, who has edited the YP and YEP since 2013, will become the company’s first editor-in-chief, with all other editors in the group reporting into him.
The shake-up will also see several senior executives depart with the five current regional managing director roles replaced by two newly-created group publishing director positions.
The two group publishing director roles will go to Helen Oldham, currently regional MD for Yorkshire and the Scottish dailies, and Warren, who heads the North West, Isle of Man and Northern Ireland business unit.
The three other regional MDs, Stephen Plews (North-East and Scottish weeklies), Richard Parkinson (Midlands and South Yorkshire) and Karl Dimmock (Southern England) are all leaving the business.
It said the company’s leadership structure was being simplified to ensure “greater cohesion and operational efficiencies across core functions” and to “shift focus away from traditional geographic reporting lines.”
Said Ashley: “Today we are announcing a leadership reorganisation of our business. This is a continuation of the journey we have been on over the last 18 months, focusing on how we grow engaged audiences and connect these audiences with advertising customers.
“We are simplifying our leadership structure to ensure we work more effectively as one team with a single vision. These changes will help us create and share content better across the organisation and speed up how we take advertising products to customers in a more consistent way, in order to deliver overall revenue growth.
“We have appointed Jeremy Clifford as our first ever editor-in-chief. Jeremy will lead a single editorial function across the group, where all editorial team members report hardline in to him.
“This will ensure we deliver a co-ordinated content and audience strategy; leveraging best practice, amplifying group-wide content sharing, championing innovation and equipping our journalists for the digital challenges we face.
“Jeremy – with the support of the Editorial Board – has made huge strides in aligning our editorial teams and driving transformational change in the way we share and deliver content. I know he will continue to build on the excellent work of the Editorial Board in this new role.
“Jeremy will relinquish the editorship of The Yorkshire Post and the Yorkshire Evening Post as a result and details of his replacement will be shared in due course.”
The shake-up will also see the group’s Local Display, Features and Entertainments (LDFE) sales teams consolidated into a single operation led by sales transformation director Neil Pickersgill, who joined JP in June this year.
In his email, Ashley said this would ensure “the rapid acceleration of our Sales strategy, turbo-charge new product launches and support the delivery of a simplified product suite.”
He said the new group publishing directors would “focus on developing revenue streams, developing our core brands to maximise business growth across the portfolio and ensure the execution of strategies is clear and consistent.”
Helen and Warren will both report to group managing director John Bills in their new roles.