Postmedia Network Inc. is trying to stanch losses by eliminating the publisher position at its chain of 10 newspapers, which includes the National Post, the Montreal Gazette, and the Ottawa Citizen.
A staff memo issued Tuesday afternoon by Paul Godfrey, Postmedia's president and chief executive officer, said the company's business operations are being reorganized into three regions, with all editorial functions overseen by the senior vice-president of content, Lou Clancy.
Three publishers who led the company's dailies in Saskatchewan and Alberta were let go. A Postmedia spokeswoman said it was still to be determined whether Doug Kelly, the publisher of the National Post, would remain with the company.
Postmedia is grappling with continuing losses in print advertising and a heavy debt burden. In the most recent quarter, ended Feb. 28, the company said print advertising had dropped by $16.9-million, or 13.8 per cent, year over year, while digital advertising increased by only $0.4-million, or 1.7 per cent.
Gerry Nott, current publisher and editor of the Ottawa Citizen, will assume the role of senior vice-president, eastern region, with responsibility for "transformation initiatives" at the Gazette, the Citizen, The Windsor Star, and the National Post.
Alan Allnutt, current publisher and editor of the Gazette, is now the senior vice-president of the Prairie region, overseeing the transformation of the Saskatoon StarPhoenix, the Regina Leader-Post, the Edmonton Journal, and the Calgary Herald.
Mr. Godfrey noted that Gordon Fisher had already been appointed president of Pacific Newspaper Group, based in Vancouver. Last week, Mr. Fisher warned staff at The Province and the Vancouver Sun that layoffs were likely.
The three executives "will focus on facilitating the transition from local silos to the new functional reporting structure," the memo said.
Marty Klyne, publisher of the Leader-Post and the StarPhoenix; Guy Huntingford, publisher of the Calgary Herald; and John Connolly, publisher of the Edmonton Journal, were let go.
The change means both the Gazette and Citizen are now without their top editors.
"The details of how it's going to run are still in play, as people are becoming aware that the structure of the company has changed, and how they work is going to change, too," said Phyllise Gelfand, Postmedia's vice-president of communications.
While delivering bad news, Mr. Godfrey maintained an upbeat tone, telling staff: "I believe, and our senior leaders believe, that this company is uniquely positioned to benefit from our size and regional diversity. With a redesigned structure that puts focus on where we need to go as an organization and a road map for how we can get there, we will be even stronger and better poised for success."
Editor's Note: Corrects to show that Gerry Nott, current publisher and editor of the Ottawa Citizen, will assume the role of senior vice-president, eastern region.