Johnston Press chief executive Ashley Highfield has resigned and will be replaced by chief financial officer David King

Rebecca Smith
Johnston Press owns the i and The Scotsman
Johnston Press owns the i and The Scotsman (Source: Getty)

The chief executive of Johnston Press has stepped down citing family reasons and plans to take up non-exec roles in the future.

Ashley Highfield has resigned from his directorship and position as chief executive, agreeing with the board that he will not put himself up for re-election at the annual general meeting (AGM) in June.

Chief financial officer David King will replace Ashley Highfield as chief executive, with effect from the AGM. King's replacement will be announced "in due course".

Read more: Johnston Press revenue drops despite "exceptional" year for the i

Johnston Press, which is the owner of the i, The Scotsman and the Yorkshire Post, said Highfield wants to fulfil his plans to move on and become "a plural non-executive director as the next phase of his career".

Highfield said:

I have been privileged to lead Johnston Press during a period of unprecedented turbulence in our industry.

Since 2011 we have grown our overall audience in particular our digital business, created an industry leading tele-sales operation and maintained margins. The acquisition of the i newspaper has been a particular highlight. I am proud of what the board and my colleagues have achieved and would like to thank them all for their support. I wish David every success in his new role.

Camilla Rhodes, chairman of Johnston Press, said: "On behalf of the board, I would like to thank Ashley for his significant contribution since becoming CEO in 2011."

She added:

We are sorry that he felt that his personal circumstances required a change at this time. Ashley oversaw the successful acquisition of the i newspaper, has driven growth in our digital footprint, while making substantial progress in reorganising and restructuring our business.

Read more: The i has defied the newspaper decline and boosted its owners revenue

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