Johnston Press Unveils Microsoft Exec as New Head

A vice-president of Microsoft, with a distinguished career at the BBC, has been appointed the new chief executive of the publishers of The Scotsman newspaper.

Ashley Highfield will succeed John Fry as CEO of Johnston Press when he stands down at the end of October.

Says a statement issued by the company, Highfield is “responsible for [Microsoft's] UK consumer and online business, including the UK's largest content portal MSN”.

It adds: “Prior to joining Microsoft, Ashley was director of new media and technology at the BBC, where he was responsible for the launch of the BBC's iPlayer and editor-in-chief of BBC Online, following which he was CEO of Project Kangaroo, the video-on-demand BBC/ITV/C4 joint venture.

“He started his career with Coopers and Lybrand Management Consultancy from where he became managing director of Flextech (now Virgin Media) Interactive. Ashley is a graduate of the City University Business School, a Chartered Information Engineer and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.”

Johnston Press publishes numerous local newspapers in Scotland, plus, down south, titles such as the Yorkshire Post.

The release quotes chair, Ian Russell, as saying: “I am delighted to announce Ashley's appointment. His combined online and media sector pedigree will be a major strength in enabling us to grow our business again. On behalf of the board I would also like to thank John for his major contribution to the company and wish him well for the future.”