CEO’s Memo: Centaur Taking NMA Online-Only, Will Sell Some Titles

Centaur is undertaking a big restructuring in which it will end the print editions of its New Media Age and Design Week titles.

Amongst several sell-offs of smaller titles, it is selling the portfolio of its wholly owned Ascent Publishing to Ascent director Derek Rogers. It is also selling the logistics, supply chain and recruiter portfolios, plus its monthly engineering titles MWP and Process Engineering.

Through this restructure, Marketing Week escapes cuts. Numbers of job losses are not clear. Whilst editorial teams stay on, the titles’ sales teams and publishers are casualties, paidContent understands. NMA exits include long-time editor-in-chief Michael Nutley and publisher Andy Oakes.

In this memo to staff (below), CEO Geoff Wilmott says: “All the markets that we operate in continue to face huge challenges and changes … The initiatives that we will be announcing will help to ensure that Centaur is focussed and resourced in a way which bests suits the market challenges and opportunities facing us, and which therefore positions the business for the future…”

Twitter reaction leads on the word “sad”. Whilst that is certainly the case where job losses are concerned, perhaps “inevitable” is a more appropriate assessment in industry terms. With Haymarket’s Media Week having dropped out of print back in 2009 and Guardian News & Media pledging to go “digital-first”, the trend away from print is now clear.








Dear All

As some of you already know, we are announcing plans to restructure the way many of Centaur’s businesses are organised and managed.

All the markets that we operate in continue to face huge challenges and changes. We think that businesses that take the initiative to adapt quickly to these changes will see tremendous opportunities to grow and be successful.

The initiatives that we will be announcing will help to ensure that Centaur is focussed and resourced in a way which bests suits the market challenges and opportunities facing us, and which therefore positions the business for the future.

In the first instance we are establishing an Operating Board, comprising the managing directors of three operating divisions, Mark Kerswell and myself. The Operating Board will have overall responsibility for the development and implementation of group strategy.

The three operating divisions are as follows:

§ Business Publishing: This will be headed by Tim Potter as is currently the case. The business publishing division will comprise three Publishing Groups: Legal & Financial, headed by Patrick Ponsford; Marketing & Creative, headed by Sarah Gilchriest; and Corporate Services (comprising our HR and engineering portfolios) headed by Phil Hayne. Each Publishing Group will be managed, under their respective Group Publishing Director, by teams of senior managers responsible for Editorial, Commercial, Operations and
Business Development. Judith Knight and Galya Holden will continue to report to Tim as Head of Data Services and Web Services respectively

§ Business Information: This will be headed by Simon Middelboe, who joins Centaur on 1st August. Simon was formerly CEO of EMAP Inform and has extensive experience of managing business publishing and high value information assets. He will initially work with Greg Simidian, CEO of Perfect Information, to help PI develop their growth plans and his principal objective will be to help build a portfolio of similar high value subscription products in other group markets

§ Exhibitions & Specialist Consumer: This division, which is currently headed by Calum Taylor, comprises our exhibitions division and the specialist consumer publishing business Ascent. Calum has however resigned and is leaving to set up his own business. He is currently serving out his notice period until the end of August. I would like to take this opportunity to thank him for the substantial contribution he has made in his 22 years at Centaur and to wish him well for the future. We will be looking to announce the appointment of a new executive to lead this division as soon as possible.

As part of this restructuring, we have also concluded that some of our smaller business publishing portfolios are unlikely to be able to deliver the same level of growth as other parts of the portfolio, and we therefore think they will be more successful outside of Centaur. We are therefore planning to dispose of certain smaller portfolios
within the group.

The major organisational changes that will arise out of this restructuring, which are mainly within the business publishing operations, are as follows:

New Media Age and Design Week will become digital only publications
— The Creative group will merge with the Marketing group under Sarah’s direction
— The Legal group will merge with the Financial group under Patrick’s direction
— The Engineering group will merge with the HR group under Phil’s direction
— We will relocate the currently centralized Art Dept and Audience Marketing teams within each of the three Publishing Groups and the Exhibitions Division so as to improve their responsiveness.
— The Ascent B2B portfolio is being sold to Derek Rogers
— The Logistics and Supply Chain and Recruiter portfolios are to be sold as are the two monthly engineering titles, MWP and Process Engineering

The new structure will help us to achieve a major redirection of focus towards digital publishing, business-critical information solutions and high value events, which will enhance our ability to accelerate revenue growth, whilst reinforcing the strengths of our core print publications. It will also improve knowledge sharing and collaboration within and between the groups and it will allow for greater benefits of scale in particular in digital operations, marketing and event management.

I know that this will be a painful process for a number of those affected by it, but these changes will bring great benefit to Centaur. The new structure will help to accelerate our growth ambitions and ensure that we continue to lead the markets we serve.

Best wishes

Geoff Wilmot
Chief Executive Officer
Centaur Media Plc