Chief executive of Johnston Press to resign in June

Media group publishes the i newspaper, the Scotsman, and the Yorkshire Post

The chief executive of Johnston Press, which publishes the i newspaper, the Scotsman, the Yorkshire Post and News Letter in Northern Ireland, is to resign from the company for family reasons.

The media group, which has more than 200 titles, said Ashley Highfield would not be seeking re-election to its board at the annual general meeting on June 5th.

“Ashley is leaving for family reasons and in order to fulfil his plans to transition to be a plural non-executive director as the next phase of his career,” said Mr Highfield.

Johnston Press will appoint David King, currently chief financial officer, to replace Mr Highfield as chief executive. Mr King will step into the role of his new role following the AGM, and his replacement will be announced “in due course”.


Johnston Press chairwoman Camilla Rhodes said Mr Highfield had played an important role in restructuring the business.

“On behalf of the Board, I would like to thank Ashley for his significant contribution since becoming CEO in 2011,” she said. “We are sorry that he felt that his personal circumstances required a change at this time.

“Ashley oversaw the successful acquisition of the i newspaper, has driven growth in our digital footprint, while making substantial progress in reorganising and restructuring our business. We wish him every success in the next phase of his career.

“I am pleased to announce that David King will step up to become CEO. David has worked closely with the Board on our strategic review of financing options. I am confident that David will prove to be a strong leader and his transition to the CEO role provides stability to the business at this important time.”

Mr Highfield said he felt “privileged” to lead Johnston Press during a period of “unprecedented turbulence in our industry”.

“Since 2011 we have grown our overall audience in particular our digital business, created an industry leading tele-sales operation and maintained margins,” he said.

“The acquisition of the i newspaper has been a particular highlight. I am proud of what the board and my colleagues have achieved and would like to thank them all for their support. I wish David every success in his new role.”

Colin Gleeson

Colin Gleeson

Colin Gleeson is an Irish Times reporter