Reed Elsevier told to 'ditch the debt'

<p>Sacking Ian Smith as chief executive of Reed Elsevier last November bought the company some time to sort itself out &mdash; but not much, reports the <em>Times</em>.<br /><br />What is Erik Engstrom, Smith&rsquo;s replacement, to do? In these cases, the kitchen sink is the favoured option. Engstrom is not ready with a revival plan yet, so painting a bleak picture of the trading environment and writing off lots of goodwill should do the trick.<br /><br />The nettle he has to grasp is closing down the remnants of business publisher RBI, where trading is in freefall, and selling off its exhibitions arm. It could raise &pound;1.2 billion and it is essential to pay down its &pound;4 billion debt pile. <br /><br /></p>