Commercial leader Neil Jones exits Johnston Press

Johnston Press is on the hunt for a new commercial leader following the exit of Neil Jones after two years.

Neil Jones: the chief commercial officer at Johnston Press is leaving
Neil Jones: the chief commercial officer at Johnston Press is leaving

Jones, chief commercial officer at Johnston Press, had been chasing challenging targets for chief executive Ashley Highfield as the regional business continues its transition into a multimedia operation.

John Bills, managing director for Johnston Press in South Yorkshire and Peaks, will take on Jones' duties on an interim basis until a permanent successor is appointed.

Jones told Campaign: "Two years into my time at Johnston Press and following certain events in my personal life, I’ve re-evaluated my priorities. Playing a key role in the transformation of the business has been challenging and rewarding, and I wish everyone at Johnston Press well."   

Chief executive Highfield said: "I would like to thank Neil for his contributions over the past two years as we have been transitioning Johnston Press into a multi-media company."

The regional publisher posted a 6.4 per cent drop in ad revenues in 2013, against a wider regional market down 14 per cent.

The owner of The Scotsman, the Yorkshire Post and more than 200 other newspapers, received a boost this month after completing its £360m capital refinancing plan, having raised £140m from a rights issue and a further £220m from a new fixed rate bond.

Plans to refinance the business were announced in May and have freed Johnston Press from its £300m bank debt, giving the business more independence. The publisher reported losses of £286.8m in 2013.

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