Trinity boss lays in to 'neglected' digital service

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The Independent Online

Simon Fox, the new chief executive at Trinity Mirror, has quickly stamped his authority on the newspaper group, announcing a major shake-up and expressing astonishment at the poor state of its digital operations.

After just five weeks in the job, the former boss of HMV has merged Trinity's national and regional newspaper divisions into a single unit. "It was very obvious coming in as an outsider that it was not an efficient structure," he said. "We weren't presenting a joined-up approach to our advertisers. We were duplicating on content."

He insisted the shake-up "will put editorial very much at the heart of the business". Asked if this meant a break-up and sell-off of the regionals was off the agenda, Mr Fox said: "We think we're stronger as one unit, rather than several units." He added: "It doesn't mean we're not divisible in the future."

Mark Hollinshead, the head of the national titles, is promoted to a new role of chief operating officer. He will oversee all the papers, which range from nationals such as the Daily Mirror to about 130 regionals, including the Birmingham Post.

Mr Fox, pictured, said it was "too early to say" how many jobs will be lost, although "there will be some opportunity for efficiency".

Georgina Harvey, the regionals boss, and Nick Fullagar, the long-serving PR man, who dates back to the days of disgraced ex-owner Bob Maxwell, will go.

In a clear swipe at his predecessor, Sly Bailey, Mr Fox was scathing about how the group has "neglected the digital development of our core brands".

He explained: "We haven't got some digital basics. We haven't got an app for the Mirror. We don't have an Irish version of the Mirror website – either for Belfast or south Ireland."

He is closing Happli, a local deals website, launched a year ago as a rival to Groupon. It is set to lose £4m this year. Around 30 jobs are at risk.

The Daily Mirror was launched as a paper for gentlewomen in 1903 by Alfred Harmsworth (later Lord Northcliffe), who with his brother Harold (Lord Rothermere) also launced the Daily Mail.