Lord Heseltine has sent an upbeat farewell message to staff today, saying that their recent “trading in many divisons has been better than we forecast”, as he prepares to take a step back from the running of magazine publisher Haymarket.
Heseltine will be replaced as executive chairman by his son Rupert.
In his Christmas email to colleagues, Heseltine acknowledged his decision to step down, saying it was time to hand over to a “new generation” of leadership.
“This time last year we and our industry were heading fast into a deteriorating economic climate that adversely affected virtually every corner of our business,” he was quoted as saying by Guardian.co.uk.
“The mood has lightened and it is possible to argue that the worst is over. Over the last month or so trading in many divisions has been better than we forecast,” he wrote. “We cannot, however, be sure how firmly based this recovery is or whether it can withstand the tax increases and public expenditure cuts that are unavoidable in 2010.”
Predicting that Haymarket “needs to prepare for a more general upturn,” Heseltine claims: “Such an approach demands a different sense of leadership. Hence my decision to hand over to a new generation.”
Following Heseltine’s departure, Chairman and managing director of Haymarket Business Media, Martin Durham, is also leaving next month after almost 20 years at the company.