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Reach Plc: David Higgerson promoted

David Higgerson will sit on its executive committee, in the newly formed role of chief digital publisher.

Reach Plc: David Higgerson promoted
David Higgerson: “The evidence is clear that today's youngest audiences need a different approach to news and I’m excited to lead the charge on building a home for news for generations to come." Photograph: Supplied by Reach Plc.

David Higgerson, previously deputy editor-in-chief (audience and customer), has been promoted to executive committee, marking a “critical stage of digital transformation”, says Reach.

David will continue to lead on audience delivery, but will expand his role to cover readership diversification, with an immediate focus on youth audience and video strategy with a new launch in this area to come later this year.

David will report directly to chief executive officer Jim Mullen, with a dotted line to group editor-in-chief Lloyd Embley, while Lloyd will maintain overall editorial oversight and accountability for editorial brands.

David Higgerson said: “The evidence is clear that today's youngest audiences need a different approach to news and I’m excited to lead the charge on building a home for news for generations to come. To this end we’ll be investing not only in content but also in formats and platforms that appeal to the digital native population.

“We also know there is a lot more to do with the 38 million people who already spend some time with us every month. We want people to spend more time with us, and to do that, we need to find more ways to help readers as they go about their daily lives.

“Thanks to the hard work and dedication of our journalists across the country, we are in a very strong place to keep growing reach and engagement across the UK and Ireland.”

Jim Mullen added: “We’re continuing to adapt swiftly to the changing world around us and the needs of our existing and potential audiences, delivering our customer value strategy and setting us up for a more sustainable, digitally-driven and profitable long-term future.

“At this critical stage of our digital transformation, it’s time for us to accelerate our strategic delivery, backed up by digital publishing focused leadership at the most senior level of the business.

“I’m delighted to welcome David to our executive committee to achieve these aims and I know that he shares our ambition to create a digital news operation truly built for the future."

Reach also announced several new and interim roles to work with David in the newly structured team:

Paul Rowland has been appointed editorial director for the live network, responsible for strategy and delivery of local output across the live network in England and Wales.

Alison Gow has been appointed interim audience and content director for video and audio, responsible for all video output across Reach.

Anna Jeys has been appointed interim audience and content director for new audiences, with a particular focus on a new brand expected to launch later in the year. She will continue in her role as ACD for the Midlands, with interim deputy support in that area to be announced.

Nathan Bliss has been appointed as Reach’s first group-wide gaming editor and will work closely with Anna Jeys.

Helen Dalby will remain audience and content director for North East and Yorkshire, with leadership of the LDR scheme and Facebook community reporter scheme, with a newly added remit to cover training and development across the Live Network.

Chris Sherrard has been appointed interim audience and content director for the North West and North Wales, in addition to continuing to lead the Irish editorial operation.

Further appointments will be made in due course, in particular to support David’s remit around expanding the youth audience for Reach’s existing brands, say the publishers.