Sands’ departure, along with director and general manager, newspapers Joe Clark, come as GNM undergoes a strategic review of its business to help it meet the challenging new conditions facing publishers.
Freeman will be promoted to the new position of director, consumer media. He will oversee display advertising sales, newspaper sales, marketing and take responsibility for the financial performance of The Guardian, Observer and guardian.co.uk.
The restructure sees Colin Hughes join the board in the new position of director of business and professional. He takes responsibility for Guardian Jobs alongside his remit overseeing Guardian Professional., the company’s b2b division.
Stella Beaumont takes up the new role of director, international and business development, focusing on growth outside the UK. Finance director Jon Cornaby is promoted to the board and Derek Gannon becomes director of operations.
Sands (pictured), a former marketer for ITV ONdigital and a former staffer for agency HHCL, was involved in the development of the Berliner format for The Guardian newspaper and its associated marketing campaign. He also appointed Wieden & Kennedy to handle GNM’s advertising in the last advertising agency review.
He says: “In the light of the changing shape and needs of the business, it is the right time for me to look for a new challenge.”
Managing director of GNM, Tim Brooks, says: “This new structure is designed to meet the longer term needs of the business. Internally, it will allow swifter decision-making and better cross-platform working. Externally, we will be better equipped to meet the challenges of the rapidly changing media environment.”
Sands and Clark will leave at the end of the year.
The strategic review recently prompted speculation that GNM was to close or sell The Observer. GNM has stated it is committed to keeping the newspaper.
It has also stated that it does not intend to charge for news content online.