Kirk exit headlines year of newspaper upheaval

FAIRFAX Media Chief Executive Officer David Kirk has quit the company, according to a report on The Age website.

Mr Kirk has been at the helm of the trans-Tasman media giant since October 2005.

His deputy, Brian McCarthy, will be acting CEO, the company said in statement to the ASX.

”It has been a privilege to lead Fairfax Media during this period of great change and challenge for media companies all over the world,” Mr Kirk said in the statement.

”A lot has been achieved and I thank especially the Board and the many managers throughout the business who have contributed to the re-positioning of Fairfax Media for continued success in the future.”

Mr Kirk’s departure follows yesterday’s stepping down by Sydney Morning Herald editor Alan Oakley. The company’s other flagship masthead, The Age in Melbourne, also has a change in editor this year when Andrew Jaspan was replaced by Paul Ramadge.

Fairfax Media owns major metropolitan and regional newspaper titles, online news and classifieds properties, magazines and radio assets in Australia and New Zealand.

This year has seen massive change for newspaper publishers in the Pacific.

Fairfax’s primary Australian rival, Rupert Murdoch’s News Ltd, has also changed editors at its Sydney and Melbourne metropolitan mastheads, the Daily Telegraph and Herald Sun respectively.

Trans-Tasman publishing, radio and outdoor advertising company APN News and Media still faces a possible ownership shake-up after its biggest shareholder, Ireland-based Independent News and Media, earlier this year it was put its 39 percent APN stake up for sale.

Ken Steinke of West Australian Newspapers was the other newspaper chief executive to step down this week. Mr Steinke followed three board members out the door at WAN. Seven Network executive Kerry Stokes looks likely to become the company’s new chairman.

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