News International has put the pitch for its &£30m media planning and buying business at Carat on hold following the departure of Richard Webb, the general manager of News Group Newspapers (NGN).
Webb’s sudden departure last month (MW July 21) followed the promotion of his counterpart on The Times and The Sunday Times, Paul Hayes, to managing director of Times Newspapers. Webb was replaced as general manager of NGN by TNL commercial director Mike Gordon.
It is understood that Webb initiated the planning and buying pitch before he left his job.
A spokeswoman for News International confirms the delay and says the pitch has been put on hold following “management changes”. She adds that the pitch will still go ahead as planned but it is not known when.
Carat holds the account for both NGN and Times Newspapers Limited (TNL), which publishes The Times and Sunday Times titles. The AAR was handling the pitch process.
As part of the management changes, TNL marketing director Andrew Mullins was promoted to general manager and his former role is still to be filled.
According to the latest figures from the Audit Bureau of Circulations, The Times increased sales by 2.13 per cent month-on-month for July while bulks were down 8.2 per cent for the same period. The Sunday Times’s total sales were up 1.01 per cent while bulks were down 1.2 per cent.