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Press boss to leave publisher after 44 years amid senior restructure

Graeme CliffordA regional press boss is to bid farewell to the industry after almost 45 years with the same publisher.

The Midland News Association has announced its managing director Graeme Clifford will retire at the end of the year.

Graeme, pictured, will be replaced by current Jersey Evening Post MD Matt Ross, formerly finance director at Northcliffe, Local World and Trinity Mirror Regionals.

The MNA and JEP are both owned by the Claverley Group, which has announced Graeme’s departure as part of a wider senior management restructure.

The changes will see digital MD Louise Burns leave the MNA, owner of daily titles the Wolverhampton Express & Star and Shropshire Star, after 32 years to take up the MD role at business to business publishing group HPCi Media, which was purchased by Claverley earlier this year.

Matt Whiles, currently operations director at Claverley-owned publishing software firm PCS will also be promoted to MD of that subsidiary.

Announcing the restructure, Claverley chief executive Phil Inman told staff: “After 44 years at the MNA and more recently PCS, Graeme Clifford will retire as managing director at the end of 2022.

“Since joining the Express & Star as a fresh-faced 18-year-old in 1978, Graeme has played a significant role in a number of milestone projects.

“Appointed as a director of Shropshire Newspapers at the beginning of 2003, notable highlights include the installation of new colour presses at Ketley which paved the way for all our titles to be printed in full colour.

“Having joined the board of the MNA in 2008, he assumed the MD role in 2015. Graeme was then appointed as MD at MNA and PCS in 2018.

“Graeme has made a positive impact on every role he has tackled and we wish him the very best for his well-earned retirement.”

Matt will retain his current JEP role and will join the MNA in July and work alongside Graeme and Louise before taking on day-to-day responsibility from January 2023.

Both Graeme and Louise will leave their roles at the end of this year.

In his message to staff, Phil added: “I am sure you will join me in wishing all four the very best for the future.”