Fairfax finds replacement for Harrison

By Frank Chung | 9 May 2014

Five months after the departure of commercial director Ed Harrison, Fairfax has found his replacement.

The publisher has lured Londoner Tom Armstrong, formerly vice president international digital sales at Viacom Brand Solutions International, to fill Harrison's shoes.

Armstrong becomes commercial director of Fairfax's Australian Publishing Media, with responsibility for commercial operations of mastheads The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and The Australian Financial Review.

The appointment comes at a tense time for the publisher, which faced a 24-hour staff strike this week after announcing plans to cut up to 70 newsroom positions.

Prior to Viacom, Armstrong was the vice president of commercial and digital media at MTV Networks in Australia, where he was responsible for devising and executing the commercial strategy for Australia and New Zealand, driving channel distribution and ad sales, developing digital product strategy and identifying new business opportunities.

Allen Williams, Australian Publishing Media managing director, said in a statement: "We are delighted Tom is returning to Australia to join Fairfax. He brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to this role and a proven track record of advertising strategy, commercial partnerships, business development, ad operations and product development.

"Coupled with his significant global leadership experience and innovation capability, he will help develop Fairfax’s commercial operations as we continue our transformation into a modern media company.

"We have designed our sales structure with our eyes firmly on the future. At Fairfax we are committed to providing our advertisers with all opportunities to connect with our expansive, engaged and premium audiences. Tom’s understanding of cross-platform sales solutions will assist us to drive new revenue opportunities."

Armstrong said: "Fairfax is at the cutting edge of cross-platform media solutions. I’m excited by the opportunity to join the team as it seeks to continually offer inventive solutions for advertisers."

No replacement has yet been found for Harrison's 2IC, Paul Sigaloff, who left with his boss to join Yahoo!7 in December. Harrison moved over to replace Stuart Sayers as CEO of Yahoo!7, while Sigaloff joined as commercial director.

Armstrong commences his role today.

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