Emap Inform chief exec Simon Middelboe gets the axe

Chief executive of Emap’s business magazine division, Simon Middelboe, is to leave after more than 25 years with the company – Press Gazette can reveal.

According to sources at Emap an announcement is expected to be made to staff in its Inform division, which publishes titles including Drapers and Construction News, later today about his departure.

Emap have since confirmed Middelboe’s departure telling Press Gazette the change is designed to reduce senior management costs within Emap Inform and allow greater investment in products and revenue growth.

Emap chief executive David Gilbertson is understood to be now taking a more direct role in the leadership of the Emap Inform division.

Middelboe’s departure follows months of turbulence at the business. In June it was reported Emap Inform wanted to cut 35 staff as part of a restructure as it planned to put significant parts of its websites behind a paywall this autumn. Both moves are understood to be unpopular with staff.

The planned lay-offs in June followed Inform freezing the pay of the highest earning employees in February to reduce costs and an earlier round of lay-offs in November when the division looked to cut around 10 per cent of its 400 employees in a bid to cut costs and restructure its senior management team.

Gilbertson told Press Gazette today: “Simon goes with my thanks and best wishes for all he has done for Emap – not only in the last 18 months while I have been chief executive but over more than 25 years with the business. His contribution is well known and much appreciated by the many people who have worked with him over that time.

“In these challenging times for the entire media industry Emap Inform has continued to out-perform its peers. This change will ensure we hold that advantage by keeping our overheads to a minimum while building our revenue base and exploiting our strength as a group.”

Emap Inform, which is one of four divisions at Emap, publishes more than 20 trade titles include Broadcast, Screen International, Nursing Times, Construction News and Local Government Chronicle.

Owners Guardian Media Group and private equity firm Apax Partners run Emap as a standalone joint venture after taking control of the business in December 2007, with reports at the time suggesting the deal valued the publisher at about £1bn.

However, in June this year, shortly before news of the latest round of redundancies emerged, Apax wrote down the value of its £300m investment to zero.

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