Johnson Press Appoint ‘Man That Can’ Highfield

by Alex Graves
See Dave Speak SMX London

Johnson Press, the group that owns The Scotsman have been reported to have announced that they have appointed former BBC new media head Ashley Highfield as their new chief executive.

Highfield is a recognised name within the media world due to his role as a vice president of Microsoft, most notable being his responsibility for UK customer and online business for Microsoft's largest content portal, MSN.

Mr Highfield will be assuming his role with the newspaper group once current chief executive John Fry stands down from his role on 31st October and with his experience as a director of new media and technology for the BBC, the partnership seems destined for success.

The appointment of Highfield will mean that Johnson Press have successfully managed to acquire one of the names behind the successful launches of BBC iPlayer and the BBC ‘video-on-demand' service named Project Kangaroo.

Following his successful term with BBC, Mr Highfield then became a managing director for Flextech Interactive which was later renamed Virgin Media.

The stream of high profile successes within his previous appointments seems that have spurred the Scottish press group into their decision to approach their target, Johnson Press chairman Ian Russell showing his respect for Highfield by claiming that he possessed "combined online and media sector pedigree".

The change in personnel seems to stem from the fact that back in May 2011 the Scottish based press group reported that they had seen a drop in advertising revenue since the start of the year, revealing a decline of 10.6% compared to their previous figures.

According to reports offered by Johnson Press, they saw a huge 30% decrease in job advertising revenue during the beginning of the year but did say that the decline seems to have reduced in speed.

With the ability to offer an impressive history and a track record of success with all of his former placements, Ashley Highfield seems to have been an ideal choice for the Edinburgh based company.

Once Highfield assumes his role with the company, he will then become responsible for a number of respectable media publications such as The Scotsman and The Yorkshire Post and will also have to oversee the smaller, more local publications such as the Falkirk Herald, the publication in which the company first began.

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