Annette Thomas, the chief executive of the Guardian Media Group, has quit her role 15 months into the job and less than two months after its owner announced plans for a structural overhaul to shift the way the organisation is run.
Thomas will leave GMG this month and will be succeeded by financial and operating officer Keith Underwood on an interim basis.
She is a former m.d. of Nature Publishing Group. She later went on to become chief executive of Macmillan Publishers. In 2012 Thomas was appointed chief executive of Macmillan Science and Education, where she oversaw the merger between Macmillan and Springer Science & Business Media. Earlier this year she was appointed as an independent non-executive director of Pearson, taking effect from 1st October.
A report in the Daily Telegraph suggested tensions between Thomas and Guardian editor Kath Viner have risen over the direction of the publication. Thomas’ decision to quit comes two months after the Scott Trust announced a review into GMG’s governance and structures.
The departing boss said: “After a significant turnaround year, having put a new strategic plan and a high-calibre team in place, substantially increasing our focus on journalism and digital recurring reader revenues, I have decided to step down from the role of chief executive, as the current governance and structures need more time to fully evolve to support the implementation of the reader-centric strategic plan.”
GMG chairman Neil Berkett said: “We have a clear strategy and a strong management team in place. Despite the difficulties caused by coronavirus, Guardian and Observer journalism has never been stronger or more relevant, and our long-term commitment to trusted reader relationships is beginning to power our growth. The board will continue to support Keith Underwood, Katharine Viner and the wider management team to achieve our long-term goals.”