Reed axes senior staff in another restructure

Jones’s letter warned Reed employees to expect "another tough year"

Reed Business Information has axed five senior posts and announced another restructure as part of its latest attempt to cut costs.

The move has affected titles in the hospitality, transport, utilities, medical and healthcare and social services sectors. It comes less than three months after the company cut 57 jobs and closed Global HR magazine.

In a letter to staff, RBI chief executive Keith Jones warned them to expect "another tough year". He said: "The continued decline in advertising revenues has forced us all to examine our area of responsibility and respond with tough decisions to ensure that our cost base is right for the long term. It is now appropriate to review and change our publishing management structures."

Jones said Reed was facing "challenging" trading conditions throughout the business.

The latest redundancies are: Jim Jones, publishing director of Caterer & Hotelkeeper and Community Care; Allan Winn, publisher of the Flight Group; Paul Roberts, publisher of Utility Week, Railway Gazette and Optician; Giles Harper, publisher of travel directories DG&G; and Jim Hannan, president of Schnell in the US.

Sources said the cuts came out of the blue and affected many long-

serving members of staff. Winn edited Flight International for nearly 10 years and Jim Jones was another long-

standing Reed employee.

The shake-up will also lead to changes in the reporting line for existing staff. Mel Robson, publisher in the catering group, and online publisher Gary Crossley will now report directly to Iain Melville, who, in turn, will also take some responsibility for Community Care. Geoff Hadwick will take control of Railway Gazette and Utility Week, reporting directly to James Blazeby. Trevor Parker will oversee Optician magazine.

The New York office will be headed by Trevor Goodman and online development will be overseen by online publisher Chris Flook. Simon Ferguson will widen his remit to include DG&G in addition to IT.

Insiders said there were some concerns within Reed that a lot of specialist knowledge had been lost. In some sectors, publishing directors had more of a business management role, while publishers often had more knowledge about the specialist market. "It’s very important to have a publisher who knows the market, advertisers and big organisations really well. There is some concern about that," a source said.

Nine journalists are thought to have lost their jobs in last October’s restructure. The NUJ also expressed concern about the workload pressures on staff. One journalist said: "If we cut any more, it will be difficult to produce the product. It’s pretty lean as it is."

Although a Reed spokesman told Press Gazette this week there were no further cuts anticipated, journalists, as well as Jones, remained pessimistic about a rapid recovery.

In his letter to staff, Jones said: "2003 is going to be another tough year for B2B publishing, but we have the teams, the magazines and the online services in place to ensure we retain our position as UK number one."

By Ruth Addicott

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