Jack Matthews to head Fairfax Media’s metro operation

Jack Matthews Fairfax MediaFairfax Digital boss Jack Matthews has emerged a winner from the company’s restructure, appointed as head of the company’s metro division with the brief of uniting the front and online operations of the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.

His appointment was revealed in today’s SMH.

The paper quotes Fairfax Media’s new CEO Greg Hywood as saying:

‘”Jack has been a driving force within Fairfax Media and Fairfax Digital,” said Mr Hywood. ”We looked across the world and the home market and decided we had the right person for the job already here.”  

It is the second time in recent weeks that Fairfax has combed the world before deciding it had the right man on the spot. Hywood spent a lengthy time as interim chief executive before the Fairfax Media board made his role permanent.

Matthews is seen as a charismatic leader, however questions were raised over whether he had sufficient newspaper experience for the role as he comes from a mainly digital and TV background. But in Hywood, the company has a CEO whose experience has been almost entirely in the company’s print products, meaning Fairfax can argue that the two have complementary experience.

Fairfax is due to announce its half yearly earnings later today.

The Fairfax Media restructure was announced three months ago by former CEO Brian McCarthy.

The new divisions were announced as:

  • Metropolitan media,  including both print and online editions of the SMH and The Age and a national sales team
  • Australian regional publishing
  • Financial Review Group
  • Fairfax Radio Network
  • New Zealand media
  • Agricultural publishing
  • Printing
  • Digital transactions
  • Trade M

The metropolitan media division is seen as the most important one within the group, arguably making Matthews de facto deputy CEO. It was also unlikely any other role would ahve been big enough for him.


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