Jack Matthews and Allan Browne to depart as Fairfax restructures

Jack MatthewsFairfax Metro CEO Jack Matthews and Fairfax Regional Media’s CEO Allan Browne are to depart the company following a major restructure of Fairfax, which will see the company move all its newspaper assets into one division.

The restructure will see Fairfax reorganised into five corporate divisions, with the company to bring together its metro division, which publishes The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, with The Financial Review Group, Fairfax Regional Media and Fairfax’s agricultural and local newspapers into one single division called Australian Publishing Media.

The other divisions include: a separate arm for the print and digital assets of Domain, Digital Venture which will include Fairfax sites like RSVP and Stayz, while Fairfax Radio and Fairfax New Zealand remain unchanged from the previous structure.

Allen Williams, the current CEO of Fairfax New Zealand will take over in the newly created role of managing director of Australian Publishing Media.

Fairfax CEO Greg Hywood said: “The formation of Australian Publishing Media will simplify the way that we do business. We have already integrated our print and digital activities in the Metro division, making us a genuine multiplatform media company.”

CEO of the Financial Review Group Brett Clegg becomes director of Business Media, a section within the Australian Publishing Media division. Business Media will include both the Australian Financial Review and also The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald’s BusinessDay section. Mumbrella understands at this stage there will be no copy sharing between the two business news desks.

Head of the agricultural publications Grant Cochrane and chief of marketplaces Nic Cola, will both also be taking on new roles within Australian Publishing Media. There are also reports that Fairfax Metro Media COO David Hoath has departed the company. Fairfax has refused to comment on whether he is still with the company.

The restructure will also see the creation of a new national sales team for all Fairfax’s metropolitan, business, regional and agricultural newspapers.

The new team will be lead by Fairfax’s commercial director Ed Harrison who has been promoted to group sales director. He will report directly to Allen Williams.

“Fairfax has an enviable set of advertising clients. In many cases, our deep relationships with these clients span multiple Fairfax divisions, functions and brands. Consolidating these relationships will allow us to work in true partnership and make the most of Fairfax’s large, diverse and valuable audiences,” said Hywood.

In making the announcement Hywood also thanked both Matthews and Browne saying:

I would like to acknowledge and thank Jack and Allan for their huge contributions to our company.

Today’s  Fairfax Media is an integrated multi-media company. It’s a different from the place Jack joined seven years ago and Jack has driven the change…

Alan has been a remarkable leading in the regional business. Through difficult times he has established these newspaper as the most resilient and robust in the group.

Jack Matthews departure the company after seven years follows the decision to reduce the existing executive leadership team roles from five to three.

“My seven years at Fairfax has been a fantastic experience. Always interesting and challenging, most of the time even fun. I’d like to specifically thank the people I’ve had the pleasure of working with. Any success I’ve achieved can largely be attributed to their quality, commitment and support. I wish them, and Fairfax, all the best,” said Matthews.

Allan Brown who leaves the company after 25 years with both Rural Press and the Fairfax said: “Over the last 25 years at Rural Press and Fairfax, I’ve worked with fantastic people and we have built a great publishing business of more than 200 title across Australia.  I am proud of the team’s achievements and wish all those that continue this legacy the very best.”

As of 11am Fairfax shares had fallen 3.7 per cent in to 0.597 in the wake of the changes.

Nic Christensen

Update: Mumbrella editor-in-chief Tim Burrowes asked Matthews about his career in a recent interview. In the interview Matthews hinted that his departure might indeed be approaching.



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