Mike Frey has left troubled magazine publisher Highbury House Communications just 18 days after his appointment as chief operating officer.
In a brief statement yesterday the company, headed by former Sun editor Kelvin MacKenzie, said Frey, who had at one stage been due to take over as chief executive, had “left the company by mutual consent with immediate effect. He will not be replaced.”
Mackenzie moved in as executive chairman in early September, after building a 20 per cent stake in the group which, among other titles, publishes the lads mag, Front.
At that stage, former Emap and Future publishing executive Frey was still expected to take over as CEO. But Mackenzie took that role too just a few weeks later, with Frey relegated to the lesser post of chief operating officer.
A spokesman for the company said yesterday: “Mr Frey will not be replaced because there is no need for a chief operating officer.” He declined to comment further on the reasons for Frey’s departure, nor on what compensation will be paid, although he said all contractual obligations would be met.
This has been a troubled year for the publisher. Former CEO Mark Simpson and chairman Simon Neathercoat left when MacKenzie took over. David Nizol, the previous COO, and Owen Davies, group finance director, announced their departure in August. Highbury also relocated its head office to Bournemouth after selling 38 magazines to rival Future. Its core business is 30 titles in the gaming, technology, special interest and entertainment sectors.