Former Archant MD Neville Keithley dies of cancer

The former managing director Archant Scotland regional newspapers Neville Keithley has died at the age of 47 after a short illness.

Keithley lost his job in July 2007 when Archant sold its Scottish titles to Johnston Press. In April this year he made the news when he took out a personal advert in the Daily Telegraph saying he was looking for work.

He leaves a wife Angela and two daughters, Daniella and Gina.

‘Nev’ as he was known to friends and colleagues was general manager of the Kentish Times, from 1999 until March 2002.

He had joined the company from Newsquest Sussex where he was group advertising manager. When he joined the Kentish Times series the titles were owned by Indepdendent News and Media. They were bought by Archant in 2004.

After leaving the Kentish Times series he was offered a managing director’s post at Archant’s Scotland headquarters where he successfully ran a series of weekly newspapers, websites and magazines until 2007 when the company sold off its Scottish branch to Johnston Press.

Friend Archant London publishing director, John Hooker, said: “We had all gone out for a curry and a laugh following the Sunderland and West Ham game in May. He was in fine form and as forthright about everything as ever. He told me he had had a few pains here and there and was going to get them checked out.

“Shortly after this he called me to tell me he had been given a few months to live. We had a big talk about being positive and he was glad to have the opportunity to put his affairs in order. We agreed to meet again for a meal and a chat. On returning from my holiday on Saturday, August 8, I got a call to say he’d died. It is a terrible shock to know he has gone.

“I’ll remember him as a big man in all respects. He was a positive thinker and he remained positive to the end. His greatest ambition was to be a managing director and he achieved that in Scotland much to his credit.

“He knew what it took to be a success. He was so determined to do what was necessary to achieve success that he used to fly to Scotland on a Monday morning, stay there for the week, then fly back at the weekend. He was also very devoted to his family. He was determined his daughters would have a good start in life and wanted the absolute best for them. I also have happy memories of going to football matches with him – especially when his team Sunderland played West Ham.

“When Nev advertised himself in The Daily Telegraph as a managing director looking for a job it was a great example of his innovative approach to life. His death comes as a deep shock to me.”

Kentish Times group editor Melody Foreman said: “Neville always took a keen interest in the editorial department and was always encouraging and supportive when I was first appointed as group editor. He always had a smile and a joke to deflate any fears or potential problems that lay ahead. Nev also told me he had great faith in me and I will never forget that.

“He had a unique philosophy on life which expanded and changed intelligently with the ebb and flow of the business. I still can’t believe he has gone. He was such a big character, so full of aspiration and always so approachable.”

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