Guardian chief executive Annette Thomas to step down

Guardian Media Group (GMG) last week announced that chief executive Annette Thomas, who joined the group in March 2020, has decided to leave the company at the end of June.

Guardian chief executive Annette Thomas to step down
Annette Thomas.

As reported on the Guardian website:

In a turnaround year which included the impact of coronavirus, Annette has overseen a strong financial performance in 2020/21, growing annual revenue, reducing operating losses by 50% and creating headroom to re-invest in GMG’s core news business.

Annette has also renewed and enhanced GMG’s strategy in conjunction with the editor-in-chief, and with the support of the GMG board and Scott Trust, developing a new strategic plan with a focus on investing in journalism, digital recurring reader revenues and new product, technology and data capabilities. In addition she has hired a number of experienced leaders in key positions to deliver the strategy.

In April 2021, the Scott Trust, the sole shareholder in GMG, began a review of the Trust and GMG’s governance and structures, a process which Annette has supported and contributed to.

Chief financial and operating officer Keith Underwood will lead GMG on an interim basis as acting chief executive.

GMG chair Neil Berkett said: “On behalf of the GMG board I would like to thank Annette for the vital role she has played. In a year of lockdown, Annette has renewed and enhanced our strategy in conjunction with the editor-in-chief, a process the board has fully supported.

“The GMG board is immensely grateful to Annette for her significant achievements and for her consistent commitment to her principles and to the company’s values. We are disappointed she has chosen to leave, but we wish her well for the future.

“We have a clear strategy and a strong management team in place. Despite the difficulties caused by coronavirus, Guardian and Observer journalism has never been stronger or more relevant and our long-term commitment to trusted reader relationships is beginning to power our growth. The board will continue to support Keith Underwood, Katharine Viner and the wider management team to achieve our long-term goals.”

Annette Thomas said: “After a significant turnaround year, having put a new strategic plan and a high calibre team in place, substantially increasing our focus on journalism and digital recurring reader revenues, I have decided to step down from the role of chief executive, as the current governance and structures need more time to fully evolve to support the implementation of the reader-centric strategic plan.

“I am grateful to the Guardian and the GMG board, and wish the organisation every success in the future with its vital mission.”

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