Jobs to go as Northcliffe plans £20m-a-year savings

By Jon Slattery

Northcliffe Newspapers is aiming to achieve cost savings of at least
£20m a year and has said job cuts across all parts of the company are
likely.

The scale of the savings programme was outlined to the group’s
editors and managing directors at a conference centre in London’s
Hatton Garden earlier this week.

It came in the same week another
high-profile editor, Barrie Williams of the Western Morning News,
announced he was leaving Northcliffe.

Group managing director
Michael Pelosi told Press Gazette: “We will be undertaking a lot more
detailed work (on the savings programme) and editorial will be included
in that review.

“If you take the company overall, there will be
job reductions. We have a staff turnover of 20 per cent a year, so some
of the job reductions will come from natural wastage. There is a
likelihood there will be redundancies as well across the company.”

Pelosi
also said he had no plans “at present” to appoint any new
editors-inchief after they were introduced at Bristol and Plymouth,
which both publish morning and evening titles. “We don’t publish two
newspapers from one location in any other centres other than Aberdeen,
where we don’t plan to appoint an editor-in-chief.” he said.

Asked
about possible consolidation between staff in Nottingham and Derby, and
in Gloucester and Cheltenham, Pelosi added: “I don’t plan any
managerial or editorial amalgamations in the East Midlands or
Gloucestershire.”

He confirmed consultants were being brought in
to review the company’s operations, but stressed final decisions would
be taken by Northcliffe management.

The announcement of the
savings programme follows intense speculation that a major shake-up in
the group was on its way after two of its longestserving editors – Mike
Lowe of theBristol Evening Post and David Gledhill of The Bath
Chronicle – were axed.

Williams, who has edited the awardwinning
Western Morning News for 10 years, said: “I have chosen to take early
retirement because of a major change of policy and structure within
Northcliffe newspapers. I will always be grateful to Northcliffe for
giving me the opportunity to guide the Western Morning News through one
of the most exciting and challenging periods of its long and
distinguished history and I have loved doing it.”

Williams has
picked up a string of awards, including Press Gazette’s Regional
Newspaper of the Year title twice, for the Nottingham Evening Post and
the Western Morning News.

Alan Qualtrough, editor of the Evening
Herald, will be editor-in-chief of the morning and evening titles in
Plymouth, while continuing to edit the Herald. The new editor of the
Western Morning News will report to Qualtrough.

Colin Davison,
formerly managing director of Northcliffe’s Cheltenham and Gloucester
operations, has been made group editorial executive.


Northcliffe is planning to invest £100m over the next three years,
mainly in a new printing plant in North Lincolnshire. The programme may
involve the closure of presses in Exeter, Hull, Grimsby and Lincoln.

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