A former executive at Canada’s largest newspaper publisher has been named the newest president of The Canadian Press, capping more than a year of restructuring and recovery at the national news agency.
The appointment of Malcolm Kirk, formerly executive vice-president of digital media with Postmedia Network Inc., was made public today in an announcement to staff.
“I am thrilled to be joining The Canadian Press,” Mr. Kirk said in a statement.
“It has an outstanding record of informing Canadians, in both English and French, for nearly a century. Journalists at The Canadian Press are regarded for their accuracy, speed and integrity, and rank among the finest in the country. It is my goal to continue building on this record of excellence and further strengthen Canadian Press as a leader in multimedia content and services.”
Mr. Kirk – a veteran of newspaper front offices in Vancouver, Calgary and San Francisco – replaces Jim Jennings and Neil Campbell, the co-architects of a strategic review last year that culminated in their being named co-presidents last September.
Mr. Jennings and Mr. Campbell joined the troubled news service as emissaries of a new ownership group that includes the parent companies of The Globe and Mail, the Toronto Star and Montreal’s La Presse newspapers.
The pair presided over a broad restructuring that brought with it staff reductions and a thorough search for new sources of revenue – as well as the return in May of Postmedia’s stable of newspapers after a five-year absence.
Mr. Jennings and Mr. Campbell are resuming their careers at The Globe, the statement said.
Toronto Star publisher John Cruickshank, the co-chairman of the board of directors of Canadian Press Enterprises Inc., described Mr. Kirk as an excellent choice to lead the news agency into the future.
“He is a proven leader with a passion for news and a distinguished record as a journalist and as a media executive who understands the needs and fast-changing environment for all forms of media outlets, including newspapers, television, radio and digital,” Mr. Cruickshank said.
Phillip Crawley, publisher and CEO of The Globe and Mail and co-chairman of the board of Canadian Press Enterprises, praised Mr. Jennings and Mr. Campbell and the company’s management team for the “remarkable turnaround in CPE’s fortunes in the last 12 months.”
“The board thanks them for creating such a firm foundation for future growth,” Mr. Crawley said. “Malcolm Kirk is very well qualified to lead The Canadian Press through the next stage of its evolution into a content creation company for the digital age.”
Guy Crevier, president and publisher of La Presse, called the appointment “excellent news” for the company.
“He has an impressive and diversified background in the Canadian and U.S. print journalism industry,” Mr. Crevier said.
“His achievements in both the digital and traditional media, his extensive know-how and his knowledge of Canada’s media environment are definite assets that will enable The Canadian Press to strengthen its position as the country’s leading news agency.”
Mr. Kirk joined Postmedia’s management team following that company’s own restructuring in July, 2010, and was tapped with managing an impressive stable of digital newspaper websites, mobile and tablet applications.
Prior to his digital media job, Mr. Kirk spent several years as a senior vice-president with Postmedia predecessor Canwest Publishing Inc.
He has also served as both publisher and editor-in-chief of the Calgary Herald, executive editor of the San Francisco Chronicle and as managing editor of the Vancouver Province.
The Canadian Press, which until 2010 operated as a non-profit co-operative that was owned by dozens of daily newspapers across Canada, has faced financial struggles in recent years – including the loss of some major media clients, including Postmedia in 2007, and problems with funding its pension plan.
Long a fixture in Canadian newsrooms, where it is known simply as “CP,” The Canadian Press was created almost a century ago to provide the country’s newspapers with a wide selection of news reports from across the country and around the world.
Over the years, the news service expanded to include a broadcast and photo service and most recently, adopted a renewed focus aimed at online news and video.
In 2010, CP became a privately owned for-profit company called Canadian Press Enterprises Inc., owned by The Globe, Toronto Star parent Torstar Corp. and Square Victoria Communications Group, the parent of La Presse publisher Gesca Ltee.