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Editorial boss promoted as publisher reshuffles senior managers

David Higgerson 2022 newAn editorial boss at a regional publisher has been promoted to a newly-created executive role as part of a senior management reshuffle.

Reach plc has announced David Higgerson, deputy editor-in-chief for audience and customer, will become chief digital publisher and sit on the company’s all-powerful executive committee.

A number of other senior managers have also been appointed to new roles as Reach aims to focus on attracting younger readers to its titles.

According to Reach, David will continue to lead the company’s strategy on audience delivery, but will also expand his role to cover readership diversification.

He will have an immediate focus on youth audience and video strategy, with a new launch in this area to come later this year.

David’s promotion has led to a reshuffle among the company’s senior editorial ranks with a number of appointments designed to help him in his new role.

These include Paul Rowland becoming editorial director for Reach’s Live network of regional websites in England and Wales, while Alison Gow has been appointed interim audience and content director for video and audio.

Chris Sherrard has taken on Alison’s brief as interim audience and content director for the North West and North Wales, in addition to continuing to lead Reach’s Irish editorial operation.

Anna Jeys has been appointed interim audience and content director for new audiences, in addition to holding the same role for the Midlands, with a particular focus on a new brand expected to launch later in the year.

Nathan Bliss has been appointed Reach’s first group-wide gaming editor and will work closely with Anna.

Helen Dalby, audience and content director for North East and Yorkshire, will now take on the leadership of the local democracy reporter scheme and Facebook community reporter scheme, but will also have a new remit to cover training and development across the Live network.

The company says further appointments will be made in due course to support David’s remit around expanding the youth audience for Reach’s existing brands

David, pictured, said: “The evidence is clear that today’s youngest audiences need a different approach to news and I’m excited to lead the charge on building a home for news for generations to come.

“To this end we’ll be investing not only in content but also in formats and platforms that appeal to the digital native population.

“We also know there is a lot more to do with the 38 million people who already spend some time with us every month.

“We want people to spend more time with us, and to do that, we need to find more ways to help readers as they go about their daily lives.

“Thanks to the hard work and dedication of our journalists across the country, we are in a very strong place to keep growing reach and engagement across the UK and Ireland.”

David will report directly to chief executive Jim Mullen, with a dotted line to group editor-in-chief Lloyd Embley, who retains overall editorial oversight and accountability for editorial brands.

Added Jim: “We’re continuing to adapt swiftly to the changing world around us and the needs of our existing and potential audiences, delivering our customer value strategy and setting us up for a more sustainable, digitally-driven and profitable long-term future.

“At this critical stage of our digital transformation, it’s time for us to accelerate our strategic delivery, backed up by digital publishing focused leadership at the most senior level of the business.

“I’m delighted to welcome David to our executive committee to achieve these aims and I know that he shares our ambition to create a digital news operation truly built for the future.”