David Kirk, CEO of Fairfax Media, abruptly left the company yesterday following a period of turmoil and redundancies at Australia’s largest newspaper group, according to Reuters and FT.com. Deputy CEO Brian McCarthy has taken the chief exec job on an interim basis but Fairfax is keeping quiet on the reasons behind Kirk’s exit or whether McCarthy will take charge on a permanent basis, saying only that the board will meet on Wednesday to discuss it.
Kirk’s departure comes just 24 hours after Sydney Morning Herald editor Alan Oakley left his job after three years at Fairfax’s flagship title; he has been offered another high-level job in the company, as SMH.com.au reports. In August, Fairfax said it would cut 550 jobs across its titles in Australia and New Zealand, including 165 in editorial, designed to save AU$50 million (£20.5 million); shortly thereafter, Andrew Jaspan, editor of Melbourne’s The Age and former editor of the UK’s Observer, left after four years in charge.
Though it’s been forced to make cuts, the company has this year posted increased profits, helped by digital revenue growth. At its AGM last month, Kirk was bullish about its prospects and told shareholders (pdf link) that The Age and the Herald made up less than 20 percent of the company