News Ltd in major restructure and focuses on “aggressive growth” of The Australian

News Limited has announced a major restructure of its Australian operations which sees Nationwide News MD Alasdair MacLeod depart and News Digital Media boss Richard Freudenstein add The Australian to his management portfolio.  

The changes include:

  • Nationwide News – the News Ltd division covering The Australian, The Daily Telegraph, The Sunday Telegraph, mX and Sportsman – sees MD Alasdair MacLeod leave the company for “new endeavours”.
  • The Australian spun into its own division under the control of Richard Freudenstein with a brief “to grow a fully multi-media brand, not just digital”. He will also continue to run NDM as a separate division.
  • Nick Leeder will leave his role as chief operating officer at NDM to become deputy chief executive officer of The Australian.
  • The remainder of Nationwide News to be headed by Michael Miller, previously MD of Advertiser Newspapers in Adelaide.
  • Miller will be replaced in Adelaide by Perth-based Sunday Times MD Ish Davies.
  • Jason Scott GM of North Queensland Newspapers replaces Davies in Perth.
  • Michael Wilkins, currently group editorial business manager, moves to North Queensland.

The latest restructure comes just a month after several executive promotions at News Digital Media, including the appointment of chief commercial officer Ed Smith to the role of chief executive of content and commercial.

Smith’s old position no longer exists, with the company’s national sales director Tony Prentice now in the newly-created role of commercial director – which includes some of Smith’s previous responsibilities.

The widening of Freudenstein’s remit has led some in the industry to speculate Smith’s further ascension within NDM. But a spokesman said there are no immediate plans to see Freudenstein relinquish his NDM role.

The spokesman said:

Ed Smith is a very talented executive. His recent promotion to CEO of our content and commercial business demonstrates how highly regarded he is in the company.

However, any speculation of a succession plan is just that – pure speculation. Richard Freudenstein is the CEO of News Digital Media and isn’t going anywhere.”

The creation of a separate division for The Australian signals the publisher’s focus to aggressively grow the media brand.

News Limited chairman and chief executive, John Hartigan, said:

We intend to not only grow circulation and readership of the print version, but significantly broaden the reach of its world class journalism online, on mobile and on new platforms.”

By creating a separate division and deploying more resources, we aim to enter an unprecedented era of growth.”

The Australian’s daily and weekend editors, Paul Whittaker and Nick Cater, will continue in their roles, and the senior editorial and commercial team remains unchanged.

Meanwhile, it is not known if MacLeod has a job to go to. He was appointed managing director of Nationwide News in July 2006.


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