Future chief executive quits after fifth profits warning in 18 months

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The Independent Online

Future, the magazine publishing group, parted company with its long-standing chief executive as it revealed a plunge into losses and an abandonment of its expansion strategy.

Greg Ingham, 45, left with immediate effect after 18 years with the publisher, which is best known for its computer gaming titles. He will get a pay-off of some £330,000, even though the company insisted it had been his own decision to leave.

Future also announced it had appointed Stevie Spring, 48, to replace Mr Ingham. She has most recently run the UK billboard business of the American media group Clear Channel. Future's chairman, Roger Parry, is chairman of Clear Channel International, though Ms Spring did not report directly to him in her last job.

Future has been hit by a downturn in the sales of its core gaming titles and disappointing sales of the magazines it bought for £30.5m last year from Highbury House. Yesterday the company reported a loss of £12.1m for the first half of its financial year, compared with a £11.1m profit for the period in the previous year.

It also put out its fifth profits warning in 18 months, saying results for the rest of 2006 and 2007 would be hit by the investment required in a number of projects.

Mr Parry said: "Over the past two years, the management of Future has been engaged in the pursuit of rapid expansion. This was attempted at a time when special-interest monthly consumer magazines have come under considerable pressure from reduced consumer spending, the growth of weekly titles in the UK, and delay in the production of new games consoles.

"The board... has decided to scale back the ambitious policy of rapid expansion."