Vanessa Clifford steps down as CEO of Newsworks

Clifford has spent seven years at trade body for news brands.

Vanessa Clifford steps down as CEO of Newsworks

Vanessa Clifford is to step down as chief executive of Newsworks after nearly seven years at the marketing body for the UK newspaper industry.

Clifford replaced Rufus Olins as chief executive in 2016, after joining Newsworks as client services and strategy director in 2012 from WPP's Mindshare.

It has been a turbulent time for the UK newspaper industry as publishers have seen ad revenues come under intense pressure in the face of the Google/Facebook duopoly and belatedly tried to collaborate by setting up The Ozone Project, a joint digital display ad sales platform.

Under Clifford’s leadership, Newsworks has produced a series of award-winning research papers, including Planning for Profit.

Newsworks was shortlisted four times for Best Trade Body Research at Campaign's Media Week Awards last year.

It was also a key player in the launch of Pamco, a publisher audience measurement platform that combines online and print readership, last year.

Clifford said: "It has been a privilege to lead Newsworks at such an important time in its history. 

"The work we have done in championing the value and effectiveness of safe and trusted premium news brands positions the sector strongly for the future."

Clifford’s departure follows the appointment of Tracy De Groose, the former UK and Ireland chief executive of Dentsu Aegis Network, to the newly created position of executive chair of Newsworks in September 2018.

De Groose said: "Vanessa has brought vision and leadership during a hugely important time for our industry. We thank her for creating foundations on which we can build and she leaves with our best wishes.

"The need for a vibrant and effective case for news brands remains stronger than ever. Our industry continues to face intense disruption and resetting the legacy narrative is a priority.

"The latest Pamco data underlines a compelling story: national newsbrands are growing their reach, as consumers recognise the value of trusted journalism and advertisers embrace quality, brand-safe environments." 

Newsworks’ stakeholders are DMG Media, ESI Media, Guardian News & Media, JPIMedia, News UK, Telegraph Media Group and Reach.

News publishers have traditionally been fierce rivals that have sometimes kept Newsworks at arm's length and industry observers expect the trade body to become more actively involved with its stakeholders.

It is thought that Newsworks might not look to find a new chief executive if it changes the way it is organised.

The News Media Association oversees Newsworks.