GWR rejigs divisions to prepare for media ownership relaxation

GWR has restructured in to five UK divisions. The move is intended to make the group more responsive to the forthcoming relaxation of media ownership regulation.

The Communications Reform White Paper, due to be published before the end of the year, is expected to relax media ownership limits and to clear the way for a series of acquisitions and portfolio changes.

GWR wants to develop the main strands of its business, and separate strategy from operations.

The five GWR divisions are: new media and technology; programming; commercial; local radio; human resources.

Classic FM managing director Roger Lewis will head the revenue division with a brief to develop strategies exploiting revenue growth and incorporating GWR’s national sales company Opus.

GWR commercial director Simon Ward is heading the new digital division as new media and digital director. He will co-ordinate GWR’s new media operation, e-cast’s ventures, with GWR’s digital radio operations.

GWR UK local radio operations director Steve Orchard heads the local radio division and will drive expansion through acquisition and integration. GWR deputy chief executive Patrick Taylor is in charge of human resources and GWR chief executive Ralph Bernard will head the programming division. A sixth division deals with all GWR’s overseas business.

Management boards, which function like think tanks, have been established for the commercial, programming board and human resources divisions. The local radio and new media divisions may establish their own boards.

Radio ownership is governed by a points system. In June GWR exceeded the 15 per cent share of the commercial radio market limit with the £146m acquisition of Daily Mail and General Trust’s DMG Radio Group. It was forced to sell 12 AMClassic Gold licences as part of a deal with UBC.

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