Outgoing Johnston Press chief executive Tim Bowdler has been appointed chairman of the PA Group.
Bowdler announced in September that he would be stepping down from the regional newspaper publisher in the new year – five months earlier than expected.
His successor at Johnston Press, former Archant chief executive John Fry, officially starts today.
Bowdler, who has been a member of the PA board since 2001, will take up his new role as PA non-executive chairman this month.
He replaces Sir Harry Roche, who retired last May. Since then, Paul Potts has held the dual role of chief executive and chairman.
In a statement, Potts said: “We recognise that the coming year will be a crucial period for the media industry and Tim’s appointment will allow me, along with the executive team, to concentrate on the challenges and opportunities ahead.
“2009 will be another significant year for the Press Association as we continue to drive forward our digital strategy and do all we can to support our customers.
“We are fortunate that someone with Tim’s wide experience and respect within the media industry is available to give us the benefit of his time and counsel at this important time.”
Bowdler joined Johnston Press in 1994 as group managing director and was promoted to chief executive in 1997.
He hands over to John Fry – who left Archant in November – at a time when Johnston Press’s profits are under pressure and its share price has taken a battering.
Shares in Johnston Press were trading on New Year’s Eve at 12p – down 94 per cent on a year-high of 198.13p.
In an interim management statement in November, the company reported a 15.5 per cent year-on-year advertising revenue slump in the 10 months to the end of October.