Summary:

Guardian News & Media (GNM) is shuffling several exec chairs and abandoning its GuardianAmerica.com strategy, as it continues a big structur…

The Guardian
photo: Digital Ghost

Guardian News & Media (GNM) is shuffling several exec chairs and abandoning its GuardianAmerica.com strategy, as it continues a big structural review. In all, seven execs are either leaving or being promoted to new roles (see below for full details), including a new director who will drive overseas expansion.

Almost two years to the day after launching GuardianAmerica.com, GNM’s recently appointed US consultant Jim Brady has now “sunset” the page. GuardianAmerica.com was The Guardian’s first big attempt to target the large U.S. audience it has found itself with online. It hired Michael Tomasky to edit the site from Washington, DC.

But the page was really only ever a breakaway index, aggregating U.S.-centric stories already found across Guardian.co.uk. Tomasky stepped back in February, following the presidential election.

Brady writes: “We’ve chosen to focus our attention on getting content to our readers via … social networks, blogs and search engines.” And Guardian America CEO Caroline Little told us: “We took it down because it was confusing and few people landed there. The change is meant to be more user friendly to our American audience.” GuardianAmerica.com now redirects to the existing US index of Guardian.co.uk. The move doesn’t appear to affect Guardian.co.uk’s American odyssey.

Strategy and corporate development director Stella Beaumont takes the new role of international and business development director, driving non-UK operations and reporting to GNM MD Brooks. Little told us: “Having Stella in London will be a tremendous value because she can champion our efforts in the U.S. and can help us maximize our effectiveness here because she can navigate London.”

Guardian News & Media last year acquired our publisher ContentNext as part of its U.S. drive, but Guardian.co.uk recently retrenched on a plan to have Reuters sell its web ad inventory in America and has taken those sales in-house, from our shared New York office.

Whilst the GuardianAmerica.com decision appears to have been made on its own merits, GNM is also making further cuts to respond to the ad downturn and structural change.

In May, it said it would cut 50 of its 850 editorial jobs by year’s end and, a month later, said it would cut 82 of its 840 commercial posts, both in an effort to save £20 million ($32.7 million).

Since then, GNM posted 2008/09 earnings with wider annual losses of £36.8 million ($60.3 million). In response, GNM has been formulating a three-year plan for the whole division that, GMG CEO Carolyn McCall acknowledged, “inevitably means we will be a smaller organisation” and, GNM MD Tim Brooks said, will review staff levels.

Announcing the reshuffle, Tim Brooks’ internal memo says: “There will also be an all-staff briefing on November 11, when we will be able to talk in more detail about the changes within our business and why they are taking place.”

In addition to Beaumont’s new role, the other exec changes include:

– Marketing director Marc Sands and newspapers general manager Joe Clark (also GNM board members) are leaving.
– Commercial director Adam Freeman is promoted to the new role of consumer media director, covering display ad sales, newspaper sales, marketing and financial performance.
– Guardian Professional (B2B) boss Colin Hughes is now becoming director of business and Professional, and joining the GNM board.
– Finance director Jon Cornaby is also added to the board.
– Technology and HR boss Derek Gannon is being made operations director.
– GNM managing editor Chris Elliott is leaving the board in 2010 after completing strategic projects.

Disclosure: Our publisher ContentNext is a wholly owned subsidiary of Guardian News & Media.

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