Johnston Press chief executive Tim Bowdler is to step down five months sooner than expected to be replaced by boss of rival newspaper group Archant – John Fry.
Archant revealed today that Adrian Jeakings, 49, who is currently group finance director, will take over as new chief executive from 1 November.
Fry, 51, has been in charge of Archant since 2002.
He takes over Johnston Press at a time when its profits are under pressure and its share price has taken a battering.
Yesterday Johnston shares closed at 35.5p – down from more than £2.50 a year ago.
In its interim results for the first half of this year Johnston Press reported half-year profits down 15.6 per cent year-on-year to £81.6 million on revenue down 6.3 per cent to £293.1 million.
Johnston Press‘s operating profit margin – which in recent years has been the highest in the industry – dropped year-on-year from 30.9 per cent to 27.9 per cent.
Fry will take up his new job as boss of Britain’s second biggest regional newspqaper publisher from 5 January. Bowdler has been due to retire in May.
Fry is a Cambridge graduate with an MA in Physics and Mathematics who began his career with Procter & Gamble before spending four years as a consultant with Bain & Company. He spent nine years as president of information company Dun & Bradstreet for UK, Europe, Middle East and Africa before joining Archant.
He has an MBA from INSEAD and was the top student in his year.
Bowlder has been chief executive of Johnston since 1997 leading it through a period of rapid expansion.
Johnston Press chairman Roger Parry said: ‘The board started the recruitment process many months ago and we have seen a large number of candidates from both inside and outside the regional media industry. John has done a tremendous job at Archant and has exciting plans for developing regional media.”
New Archant boss Jeakings was previously group finance director of the Stationary Office and is a qualified accountant.
Archant regional finance director Brian McCarthy replaces Jeakings as group finance director.