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December 1, 2015

Yorkshire Post’s Jeremy Clifford appointed as first Johnston Press editor-in-chief

By William Turvill

The Yorkshire Post’s Jeremy Clifford has been appointed as Johnston Press’s first ever editor-in-chief.

Chief executive Ashley Highfield told staff in an email this afternoon: “Jeremy will lead a single editorial function across the group, where all editorial team members report hardline in to him.

“This will ensure we deliver a co-ordinated content and audience strategy; leveraging best practice, amplifying group-wide content sharing, championing innovation and equipping our journalists for the digital challenges we face.”

Clifford (picture from Yorkshire Post), whose move was announced as part of a wider JP shakeup, is no longer editor of the Yorkshire Post and Yorkshire Evening Post and “details of his replacement will be shared in due course”.

Highfield said that Clifford, with the support of JP’s editorial board, “has made huge strides in aligning our editorial teams and driving transformational change in the way we share and deliver content”.

Highfield described the change as a “continuation of the journey we have been on over the last 18 months, focusing on how we grow engaged audiences and connect these audiences with advertising customers”.

He said: “We are simplifying our leadership structure to ensure we work more effectively as one team with a single vision.  These changes will help us create and share content better across the organisation and speed up how we take advertising products to customers in a more consistent way, in order to deliver overall revenue growth.”

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As part of the shake-up, Highfield also announced the consolidation of local display, features and entertainments sales teams and the sales operations team “into one function”. This team will be led by Neil Pickersgill.

Highfield said: “Both Jeremy and Neil will ensure our editorial and sales teams continue to work effectively together in our local markets as we deliver on our promise to put quality at the heart of our business.

“Importantly, while we are organising our editorial and field sales operations as individual, dedicated functions with new reporting lines, we retain our focus on serving audiences and customers locally across our PUs. We may review the PU boundaries at a later stage, but our senior editorial and sales leaders remain aligned at the PU level and will continue to ensure our teams work closely together.

“To help co-ordinate and accelerate the delivery of our publishing strategy, we have created two group publishing director positions.  These roles will focus on developing revenue streams, developing our core brands to maximise business growth across the portfolio and ensure the execution of strategies is clear and consistent.

"Both Helen Oldham and Warren Butcher will become group publishing directors and join the Executive Management Committee (EMC).  Warren will continue to lead our Isle of Man and Off Road teams.  

“In adopting the changes I’ve outlined here managing directors Karl Dimmock, Richard Parkinson and Stephen Plews will be leaving the business.  I want to take this opportunity to thank Karl, Richard and Stephen for their commitment and dedication over the years and to wish them every success in the future.

“The following will lead the business as part of my Executive Management Committee (EMC):

David King, Chief Financial Officer

John Bills, Group Managing Director

Lucy Sinclair, Chief Marketing Officer

Steve Gilliver, Group HR Director

Jeff Moriarty, Chief Product & Digital Officer

Roger Davies, Chief Technology and Operations Officer

Peter McCall, Company Secretary & Legal Counsel

Jeremy Clifford, Editor-In-Chief

Jason Rewse-Davies, Group Business Development Director

Helen Oldham, Group Publishing Director

Warren Butcher, Group Publishing Director

“Any resulting functional leadership changes will be shared with you during the course of this week.

“Simplifying our organisation structure will equip us to grow engaged audiences and improve the way we serve our customers, as we work together to deliver overall revenue growth.”

Nine Johnston Press editor directors will report to Clifford.

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