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Newsquest axes five Archant directors including CEO and editorial boss

Lorna WillisFive senior Archant directors including its chief executive and editor in chief will leave the publisher following its takeover by Newsquest.

Staff at the group have been informed today of a wide-ranging restructure which also affects Archant’s regional operations.

As part of the restructure, Archant CEO Lorna Willis, pictured, and editor in chief Jeremy Clifford will leave the business, along with chief finance officer Nick Steven-Jones, magazines managing director Jonathan Cropley and product & platform director Ryan Cousins.

Lorna has been in her post since March last year, while Jeremy joined Archant a month beforehand after departing JPIMedia in similar circumstances following its takeover by National World.

Vincent Boni, currently MD for Newsquest Dorset, Hampshire, Salisbury and Cornwall, will become a director of Archant Community Media Ltd and is set to serve as interim managing director responsible for Archant’s business in Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire.

Vincent will also be the project lead for integration between Newsquest and Archant until he returns to his present post at the end of the year.

Newsquest CEO Henry Faure Walker thanked Lorna and Nick for “the ways they have led Archant with exemplary professionalism and commitment in challenging times” in an announcement to Archant staff, which has been seen by HTFP.

He added: “In addition, Jonathan Cropley and Jeremy Clifford will be stepping down at the end of April and May respectively, and Ryan Cousins will be leaving us at the end of June.

“I am sure you will join me in thanking them all for the huge contribution that they have made to the business and wishing them all the best for the future.

“We are excited by the opportunities that come from the combination of Archant and Newsquest in building a truly local media business that empowers its communities and its staff to thrive.”

Henry then went on to outline a series of changes to the regional structures of Archant and Newsquest, including:

– Archant’s Hertfordshire and London businesses, along with Kent Life, becoming part of Newsquest South East. Group editor Michael Adkins and sales director Jermaine Cayenne will report to Newsquest South East MD Mike Harper.
– Newsquest Somerset MD Hussain Bayoomi taking over as manager of Archant’s Devon and Somerset news titles, as well as Somerset Life magazine.
– Archant’s Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Hampshire, Sussex and Surrey magazines joining Newsquest South under the management of Tracy Hayden and Laura Bielinski, Newsquest sales director in the region.
– Cotswold Life joining Newsquest South Midlands under that region’s MD Julia Lancett.
– Newsquest North’s Nick Fellows becoming the MD responsible for magazines development, with Archant’s County magazines head of content Liz Nice reporting to him and County magazine editors reporting to her in turn.
– Yorkshire Life, Derbyshire Life, Cheshire Life and Lancashire Life operating as a separate business unit, reporting to Nick Fellows.
– Archant’s digital, data and insights team becoming part of Newsquest’s central functions.

Henry added: “We appreciate that this is a lot of information for you to take in.

“Over the next few days you will have an opportunity to meet with your new line managers.

“This afternoon Lorna and I will be holding a town hall where there will be an opportunity to ask any questions.

“As a final point, I would like to reassure you that there will be no changes to your employment terms and conditions.”

Newsquest has declined to comment, while HTFP has also approached Archant for further comment.