15/02/2005 - 21:00

Thompson’s tenure ended at Community Newspapers

15/02/2005 - 21:00


Upgrade your subscription to use this feature.

Community Newspaper Group is searching for a new CEO following the departure of Ian Thompson after five years at the helm.

Thompson’s tenure ended at Community Newspapers

Community Newspaper Group is searching for a new CEO following the departure of Ian Thompson after five years at the helm.

Community Newspapers company secretary Mark Shelton has been appointed interim CEO until a full-time replacement for Mr Thompson can be found.

Mr Shelton confirmed to WA Business News that Mr Thompson’s employment at Community Newspapers had been terminated but refused to comment further.

“The only thing I can say is that the board announced that his employment had been terminated,” Mr Shelton said. “The announcement was made only to the [Community Newspapers] staff.”

Community Newspapers chairman Ian Law, who is also managing director of its 49.9 per cent shareholder Western Australian Newspaper Holdings, could not be contacted for comment.

Mr Thompson took up the CEO’s role at Community Newspapers in early 2000.

He was previously head of News Limited’s WA printing operation Perth Print.

Besides his roles within the News group, including executive positions with The Sunday Times, Mr Thompson had also been chairman and CEO of the Perth Reds Super League side in the late 1990s.

Community Newspapers, which boasts 15 suburban titles, made about $7 million for 2003-04 and is understood to be on track to return earnings to its shareholders News Limited and WANH of $12 million in 2004-05.

Those titles are the Canning Times, Comment News, The Eastern Suburbs Reporter, the Fremantle Cockburn Gazette, Guardian Express, Hills Gazette, Joondalup Wanneroo Community, Melville Times, Midland Kalamunda Reporter, North Coast Times, Southern Gazette, Wanneroo Times, Weekend Courier and Western Suburbs Weekly.

According to the WANH annual report, Community Newspapers’ contribution to earnings before interest and noteworthy items but after tax was $3.6 million.

That was the second largest earnings item at WANH after the company’s flagship The West Australian, which returned figures of $109.4 million.

In his managing director’s report Mr Law says WANH’s share of earnings from Community Newspapers rose 32.2 per cent.

“The community group consolidated its position in a number of markets – including the growth corridor in the northern suburbs of Perth with the launch of new editions of the North Coast Times and the Wanneroo Times,” he says.

While Community Newspapers has been performing strongly, it faces competition from Perth’s independent newspapers.

Those papers include Bret Christian’s Post Newspapers, Gerald van Rongen’s Examiner Newspapers, Andrew Smith’s Herald Publishing Company, which publishes the Fremantle Herald and the Voice, and Allen Cannell’s Midland Echo.

Community Newspapers has revamped several of its newspapers that are in direct competition with those independent titles.

Mr Christian said those revamps had worked in the independents’ favour. “They’ve gone to this lifestyle publication and that’s boosted the differentiation for our papers, which are seen to be about news,” he said.


Subscription Options