Fairfax Media CEO Hywood's memo to staff on restructure

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

Fairfax Media chief executive Greg Hywood sent a note to staff this morning detailing the second round of a sweeping restructure underway at Fairfax as it reengineers for structural change in the media sector. Here's his full message:

"Journalism is our core. It has been for 180 years and will continue to be. As we all know, the business of journalism is changing profoundly from print to digital publishing. We are well down the track on this change, with more than two thirds of our audience now accessing our journalism through our digital products. Because we deliver our journalism within a commercial model, it is critical that we organise ourselves to maximise revenue and drive efficiencies.
Having completed the first phases of our transformation, the next phase is to deliver the full potential of our news (including sport), business, lifestyle and community media businesses. Sharing expertise across sales, marketing and product development will give us the ability to operate as efficiently as possible.
Our new structure – which is set out on a dedicated intranet site – will simplify the way we do business and eliminate unnecessary bureaucracy.
Our Australian publishing businesses will operate as one division – Australian Publishing Media – with a structure based around core activities and functions.
Responsibility for each of our mastheads and websites will be assigned to four publishing units within Australian Publishing Media, an approach that supports cross-platform and cross-masthead engagement with our audiences. Journalists will continue to focus on their areas of functional specialty, and will now be reaching the broadest possible audience.  Editors-in-chief, for example on The Sydney Morning Herald, The Sun-Herald, The Age and The Australian Financial Review, will remain solely focused on their mastheads and delivering for their own audiences.
We will be consolidating key accounts and national sales across Australian Publishing Media into one team, and creating single teams for Audience Insights & Marketing, Business Planning & Analysis, and Product Development. Australian Publishing Media will draw upon the services of company-wide production functions including advertising production, editorial production, contact centres, printing, distribution and circulation services.
Domain will be established as its own division, while a new Digital Ventures division will replace Marketplaces.  This is much more than a name change. Our digital businesses operate in fast-changing niches, and under the new structure they will be resourced as standalone businesses, with greater autonomy while still retaining access to support from Group functions.
The new structure will see five of the existing Executive Leadership Team roles replaced with three new roles.
Details of the new ELT are set out on the intranet, including a number of acting roles while permanent appointments are being finalised.
You will see that Allen Williams, previously CEO of Fairfax New Zealand, will now be Managing Director, Australian Publishing Media. Allen’s experience in New Zealand, where he led the integration of disparate businesses into a more focused and centrally managed division, will be invaluable in his new role, as will his background in the Rural Press regional and agricultural businesses.
We will soon be farewelling Jack Matthews and Allan Browne, both of whom will help bed down the transition. I would like to acknowledge and thank them for their huge contributions.
Jack Matthews has been with Fairfax for seven years, and CEO of Metro Media since 2011. Jack has driven the changes that have seen Fairfax become a truly integrated multi-media company as he led the integration of the digital and print businesses.
Jack has told me that he has achieved all that he set out to at Fairfax, and it’s time for his next challenge. We all wish him well in the next stage of his distinguished and successful career.
Allan Browne has spent the last 25 years at Rural Press and Fairfax. He 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 in his future.
Divisional management will communicate with you in coming days to provide more detail of what the new structure may mean for you.

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