As reported as breaking news on Spike yesterday, the chief executive of SMG has stepped down, with immediate effect.
A notice to the stock exchange, filed yesterday morning by the owner of stv, says Andrew Flanagan’s departure was mutually agreed between he and the SMG board.
Colleague, Donald Emslie, becomes acting chief executive while SMG embarks on a recruitment process.
Said the SMG chairman: “Andrew has made an outstanding contribution to the development of SMG in his ten years as chief executive and the group is well positioned tocapitalise on the strength of its brands through the opportunities that digital technology presents. It has been a personal privilege to have worked with Andrew and, on behalf of the board, I would like to thank him for his role in restructuring the shape of SMG and helping to position the group for future growth.”
He added: “In Donald Emslie, we have an acting chief executive with over 20 years’ experience in the UK media sector, who has been a board member for seven years. I am confident that under Donald’s stewardship we will continue to make progress in implementing the group’s ambitious growth plans.”
Emslie is chief executive of SMG TV, and is considered, among staff, to have more of a feel for programme-making that his predecessor.
Though Flanagan had survived some over-priced acquisitions in the past, when SMG harboured ambitions to become a media powerhouse, it is understood that the SMG share price dropping below 75p may have sealed his fate.
Speculation is also rife that senior managers may have been genuinely shocked when a recent meeting between Flanagan and staff revealed low morale. When asked who thought morale was good, no-one at the meeting stuck their hand up.