The head of Trinity Mirror's stable of regional newspapers, including the Liverpool Echo, the Birmingham Post and the Newcastle Evening Chronicle, has quit after 20 years.
Stephen Parker will leave the company at the end of the month by "mutual consent", the Trinity Mirror chief executive Sly Bailey announced yesterday.
"I have really enjoyed my time at Trinity Mirror and am proud of what I, and the businesses I have led, have achieved," Mr Parker said. "From overseeing the integration of the Scottish and Universal Newspapers acquisition in the early 1990s through to the building of Trinity Mirror plc via acquisition and merger, it has been a challenging, exciting and very rewarding experience."
Mr Parker does not have another job to go to and is planning to take a break in the short term. Ms Bailey will take over direct control of the regional newspapers for the foreseeable future.
Trinity Mirror insiders insisted Mr Parker is leaving because "he feels the company is entering a new phase and it's time to step down".
Other sources suggested there had been a disagreement between Mr Parker and Ms Bailey about whether cost-cutting is the right direction for the business. Ms Bailey has announced a restructuring across the group which entailed 550 job cuts, or 5 per cent of staff.
Mr Parker joined Trinity in 1985 and became managing director of the regional newspaper division in September 2000 after the merger of the Mirror titles with the Trinity regional newspaper business in 1999.
Although the regional buinsess weathered the advertising recession better than the national titles, Ms Bailey has resisted City calls for a demerger. Last year, turnover in the regional division rose2.1 per cent to £525.2m, accounting for about 47 per cent of group revenue.
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