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Bauer ditches ‘Xcel’ as Sarah-Belle Murphy returns to take helm of publisher’s digital arm

Sarah-Belle Murphy, former executive manager of media product at REA, will return to Bauer Media as general manager of digital. Murphy is a replacement for Christian Fricke, Bauer Xcel’s managing director, who left the business late last year.

The Bauer Xcel brand – which was initially established as a separate business, with different costs and objectives – will no longer exist.With the brand disappearing, this could mean a more integrated approach for the publisher.

The announcement of Murphy’s return comes after a re-structure of the Bauer Media digital team this week, the launch of new ‘storytelling’ division Story54 and a new women’s platform, Women to Love.

Bauer’s new digital team sees Fiona Baker take on the role of managing editor, Now To Love, as Bauer Media’s digital content director, Emily Kerr, moves to New York. Jenna Clarke, features editor at Elle was promoted as managing editor of the digital luxury portfolio.

Murphy has worked in the media for more than 10 years, spending her last year with REA Group. She has also worked as national digital director for ARN, the parent company of Kiis and Gold FM and as a digital business manager for Nine.

In 2012, Murphy joined Bauer for the first time as head of digital product before commencing a role as general manager of consumer, digital and Xcel commercial labs, in 2016.

On her appointment, Murphy said: “I’m thrilled to be joining the team at Bauer Media. I’m excited to work with the teams on the digital side of iconic Australian brands.”

Paul Dykzeul, Bauer Media’s CEO added Murphy would have a “very strong positive impact” on the business.

She commences her new role in May.

Earlier this month, Dykzeul announced he would take on the lifestyle properties for Bauer Media after the departure of general manager, Jayne Ferguson.

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