News Corp Australia forges ahead with major restructure as discussions with Antony Catalano cease

News Corp Australia has opted for a major restructure of its senior team in the place of a potential deal with Australian Community Media (ACM) boss Antony Catalano for the publisher’s regional news titles.

In an email sent to staff, CEO Michael Miller said the conversations with “the most logical acquirer” of the regional and community titles “have not resulted in a transaction”. It isn’t clear what the sticking point was for the deal, but sources say the titles included in the sale could not be agreed upon.

Michael Miller_M360 2018

Miller says the conversations with Catalano failed to result in a deal

“Today, I am announcing senior executive and editorial appointments and changes to accelerate News Corp Australia’s focus on being a more digital, growth-orientated company,” said Miller in the note.

“In recent weeks we have been undertaking a review of our Australian portfolio and structures and have had discussions with the most logical acquirer of our regional and community titles.

“Those discussions have not resulted in a transaction and we are now considering alternative structures to best focus News Corp Australia on maximising digital and growth opportunities.

“As part of this strategic direction, the new appointments I am announcing today will position us to be more effective in driving further success in the growth areas News Corp is excelling in such as travel, food, digital advertising products and solutions, and digital subscriptions.”

The changes see News Digital Networks Australia (News DNA) boss Julian Delany promoted to chief technology officer of data and digital, national sales managing director Lou Barrett become leader of all sales divisions, and managing director of mergers, acquisitions and strategy, Richard Skimin, appointed managing director of, Kidspot and Whimn.

CFO Michael Ford will take Skimin’s previous responsibilities, Victoria’s managing director of editorial Peter Blunden will become national executive editor, leading the internal newswire and the national sports operation, and Emma Fawcett will expand her role to include News Xtend and News Connect as managing director, commercial product and platform.

Fiona Nilsson will now take on the role of managing director, food and travel, Jason Scott will expand his remit to represent Queensland, the Northern Territory and national commercial publishing operations as well as chairing the new Publishing Board. The board will comprise Ish Davies, managing director, South Australia; Peter Zavecz, managing director, Victoria and Tasmania; and Nicholas Gray, managing director, The Australian, NSW and prestige titles.

Mumbrella understands that no redundancies have come as part of the change, however the business has lost roles over the past few months as it handles the impact of COVID-19.

Neil Monaghan has been appointed managing director, business services group and Kate de Brito, editor-in-chief of will now report directly to Miller.

The Sunday Telegraph editor Mick Carroll will expand his remit to include national weekend editor, overseeing the entire weekend portfolio of News Corp and News Local publisher John McGourty has been named national editor, Community Masthead Network.

“We are well positioned for future success – today’s appointments and changes will further enable us to sharpen our focus on our market leadership in digital and growth sectors,” concluded Miller.

It was revealed last week in News Corp reporting that News Corp Australia’s revenue had fallen 45% in April. Media companies are expecting similarly low figures in May.


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