Mirror boss Sly Bailey leaves six months early


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The Independent Online

Embattled Trinity Mirror chief executive Sly Bailey has left the newspaper group after her departure was brought forward by six months.

The publisher of the Daily Mirror and Sunday Mirror announced Ms Bailey was stepping down with immediate effect and said it was moving forward with the search for her replacement, with help from head-hunters Egon Zehnder International.

Ms Bailey's earlier-than-planned departure follows the arrival on May 29 of chairman David Grigson, who replaced Sir Ian Gibson - a move that was also brought forward.

Trinity Mirror said group finance director Vijay Vaghela will take on the chief executive duties, working closely with Mr Grigson, until a permanent successor is appointed.

Mr Grigson said: "The company and the board are grateful to Sly for her immense contribution and leadership over nearly 10 years. Despite the deep economic downturn, the actions she has taken with her team have ensured the company has consistently delivered robust profits. We wish her well for the future."

Ms Bailey said: "Newspapers are a business like no other and it's been an absolute privilege to have led Trinity Mirror in this fascinating and all-consuming role.

"Everything I've achieved during my time here has been underpinned and supported by the hard work, commitment and enthusiasm of our tremendous staff."

Ms Bailey announced last month that she planned to step down amid a furore over executive pay and performance at the group, but was originally expected to leave by the end of the year.

Trinity Mirror's share price has plunged more than 90 per cent in the 10 years that Ms Bailey has been in charge as the newspaper industry battled declining print sales amid competition from the internet.

The firm suffered a revolt over its pay plans at last month's annual general meeting, with nearly half of shareholder votes cast made against its directors' remuneration report.

Investors were angry at Ms Bailey's large pay packet in the midst of falling profits and sales.

Trinity Mirror has been one of a number of firms to face the wrath of investors as part of a so-called "shareholder spring" that has also claimed the scalp of Aviva chief executive Andrew Moss.

Trinity Mirror, which publishes 160 local and regional newspapers, has seen shares slump from more than £7 in 2005 to just 26.1p today, valuing it at £66.4 million.

It has suffered sharp falls in advertising revenues and circulation, as has the rest of the industry.

In the group's most recent update on trading, it said revenue for the 17 weeks to April 29 fell 4 per cent as ad spending in its titles dropped 11%.