Fairfax confirms organisational and management shake-up

By By Wenlei Ma | 4 April 2013
Fairfax Media chief executive Greg Hywood.

Fairfax has confirmed to the ASX the media company's new organisational structure, which includes the merger of Financial Review Group and Metro Media as Australian Publishing Media.

AdNews exclusively revealed much of the structural and leadership changes earlier this morning.

Fairfax New Zealand chief executive Allen Williams will be managing director of the newly formed Australian Publishing Media.

Australian Publishing Media will incorporate the previous Metro Media unit which included The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, and The Financial Review Group, Fairfax Regional Media, Agricultural Media and FCN NSW.

Current Metro Media boss Jack Matthews and head of the regional publishing business Allan Browne will both leave the company. Financial Review Group boss Brett Clegg, Agricultural Publishing head Grant Cochrane and Marketplaces chief Nic Cola will take roles within Australian Publishing Media.

Fairfax Media chief executive and managing director Greg Hywood said: “The formation of Australian Publishing Media will simplify the way we do business. We have already integrated our print and digital activities in the Metro division, making us a genuine multiplatform media company.

“The next phase of our transformation is to deliver the full potential of our Australian news, business, lifestyle and community media businesses. Sharing expertise across sales, marketing and product development will give us the ability to deliver our journalism as efficiently and effectively as possible.

“For our people, this structure will reduce bureaucracy and enable greater collaboration. What will not change is our commitment to quality journalism and great products.”

In a separate statement, Fairfax also confirmed the creation of a new national sales team which will represent all publications previously under Metro Media, Financial Review Group, Fairfax Regional Media and Agricultural Media. Ed Harrison has been promoted to group sales director and will lead the team, reporting to Williams.

Hywood said: "Fairfax has an enviable set of advertising clients. In many cases, our deep relationship with these clients span multiple Fairfax divisions, functions and brands. Consolidating these relationships will allow us to work in true partnership and make the most of Fairfax's large, diverse and valuable audiences."

Of Matthews and Browne's exits, Hywood said: “I would like to acknowledge and thank Jack and Allan for their huge contributions to our company.

“Today's Fairfax Media is an integrated multimedia company. It's a lot different from the place Jack joined seven years ago and Jack has driven the change, building a strong team and leading the integration of the digital and print businesses. Jack has told me that he has achieved all that he set out to at Fairfax Media and it's time for his next challenge. We wish him well in the next stage of his distinguished career.

“Allan has been a remarkable leader in the regional business. Through difficult times he has established these newspapers as the most resilient and robust of the group. We wish him all the best for the future.”

Matthews said: “My seven years at Fairfax has been a fantastic experience. Always interesting and challenging, most of the time even fun. I'd like to specifically thank the people I've had the pleasure of working with. Any success I've achieved can largely be attributed to their quality, commitment and support. I wish them, and Fairfax, all the best.”

Real estate and property-focused asset Domain will be its own business unit while former Marketplaces businesses such as Stayz and RSVP will come under the Digital Ventures unit.

Fairfax Radio and Fairfax New Zealand will remain unchanged.

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