The leadership structure is being simplified to ensure greater cohesion and operational efficiencies across core functions – editorial and sales – and shift focus away from traditional geographic reporting lines, the company said in a statement.

  • An editor-in-chief has been appointed to drive a co-ordinated editorial strategy across the portfolio by championing innovation and best practice.
  • The local display, features and entertainments (LDFE) sales teams and sales operations have been consolidated into one function to ensure rapid implementation of the sales strategy and faster-to-market product launches.
  • Two group publishing director positions have been created to accelerate the delivery of the publishing strategy and identify new revenue streams.
  • Five regional MD roles have been removed to fast-track decision-making.

Johnston Press chief executive Ashley Highfield (pictured right) said: “As we sharpen our focus on total revenue growth, these changes will ensure we are delivering our strategy in a consistent and effective way. By operating with more efficiency we will have greater capability to act quicker and take new products to our customers.

Our digital advertising solutions such as Sky AdSmart, Digital Kitbag and 1XL have proved a success and adopting a more unified approach will allow us to innovate with even greater speed.”

Jeremy Clifford (pictured below) takes on the newly-created role of editor-in-chief and nine editorial directors will now report directly to him. Mr Clifford, who has led the editorial board, will relinquish editorship of the Yorkshire Post and Yorkshire Evening Postand a replacement will be announced in due course.

The new LDFE team will be led by Neil Pickersgill, who joined Johnston Press in June as sales transformation director, bringing with him experience in driving performance improvement across sales channels.

Helen Oldham, currently Scotland & Yorkshire MD and Warren Butcher, North West, Isle of Man & Northern Ireland MD, will both become group publishing directors, reporting to group managing director John Bills.