Free morning newspaper Metro has promoted sales director Justin Farnan to the new post of commercial director as it prepares for a forthcoming London newspaper war.
Metro and Associated Newspapers sister paper the Evening Standard, a paid-for title, face a new threat as rival Express Newspapers plans to launch a free afternoon publication in London. The publisher is waiting on a decision from the Office of Fair Trading on whether Metro’s exclusive distribution agreement with London Underground is anti-competitive.
Insiders suggest Associated Newspapers is looking at a number of counter-measures, including an afternoon Metro or a free version of the Evening Standard.
Farnan joined Metro as head of client sales, becoming sales director in October 2001. He was previously ad manager at GQ. His new role includes his previous responsibilities, along with work on brand extensions and new Metro products.
The promotion does not affect the reporting line of Metro marketing director Karen Wall, who was promoted to the position in May (MW May 6). Both Farnan and Wall will continue to report to managing director Steve Auckland.
Several national papers, including The Guardian and The Sun, have recently promoted ad directors to commercial director as they try to maximise revenue from streams other than pure advertising.