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Johnston Press rewards boss for 'shambolic performance'

9 March 2011

Johnston Press plc has decided to allow its chief executive, John Fry, to take 12 months to hand over the reins of the group. The NUJ described the decision as:

"… a remarkable contrast with how its management has treated many loyal staff whose only reward for skilled work and dedication has been increased workloads, impossible work schedules and compulsory redundancies. Some contractual changes have been imposed with only hours of consultation.”

The company has just announced a slump in profits of almost one-third.

Barry Fitzpatrick, NUJ head of publishing, said:

"We have been warning for more than a year that the Johnston Press group is being run into the ground by John Fry's stewardship. This once-proud newspaper group has destroyed the bond of trust with its journalists. Johnston Press was the benchmark for well-managed regional newspapers, but, under John Fry, that reputation has been sacrificed.
"His stewardship has seen the share price fall to 12p from 30p at the time of the last shareholders' meeting. It was more than 400p at its peak. For this, he is being rewarded with nearly £1 million a year, and now an extraordinary 12 months' notice.
"It is remarkable that his generously-extended resignation is announced on the same day that the group reveals its pre-tax profit for 2010 fell 29.6 per cent year-on-year to £30.5 million from the £43.3 million it made in the previous 12 months.
"The NUJ hopes we can look forward to working with a more competent and positive management in the future.
"That is what our members, together with Johnston Press Group shareholders and the all-important readers of the newspapers, deserve.”

Tags: , Johnston Press, newspapers, John Fry, regional newspapers