DAVID Montgomery, the media entrepreneur and former head of Mirror Group Newspapers, yesterday announced his intention to retire from Mecom, the group he founded to exploit the integration of a number of European newspaper titles.
Montgomery’s decision to retire in January follows pressure from a number of the company’s leading shareholders who wanted him to go.
The shareholders have argued the group should concentrate on its Dutch assets and invest less in some of the other properties and possibly sell them if it could attract the right price.
It was unclear yesterday who would take over from Montgomery. Prior to yesterday’s announcement, the dissident investors had been proposing Patrick Tillieux, a former chief executive of the Scandinavian broadcaster SDS.
Mecom said its board would conduct a search to find the person best to succeed Montgomery. It said Montgomery had decided to leave following “pressure from certain shareholders”, without elaborating.
Montgomery slashed costs and jobs as he sought to drive his local-newspaper businesses in the Netherlands, Denmark, Norway and Poland into the digital age in the face of the industry’s worst-ever recession.
In July, the company posted a 48 per cent leap in first-half operating profit and a two per cent fall in revenue.
Jonathan Barrett of Singer Capital Markets says the Mecom founder would have undoubtedly preferred to have been given longer to improve the group’s fortunes. He said: “I am sure he would rather have seen more of his plans being executed.”