Microsoft’s Highfield to lead Johnston Press

Microsoft UK’s consumer head Ashley Highfield is to join Johnston Press as CEO, replacing outgoing chief exec John Fry.


He will oversee more than 100 newspaper and online brands including The Scotsman. He will also be charged with reversing revenue and profit declines, down 6% and 29.6% respectively in 2010.

Highfield is currently vice president of Microsoft’s UK consumer and online division, leading parts of the business including content portal MSN and its video offering.

He was previously director of new media and technology at the BBC, where he was responsible for the launch of iPlayer. He was also CEO of the ill-fated Project Kangaroo.

Highfield will also be made a shareholder, and has been given £500,000 of Johnston Press shares.

Ian Russell, chairman of Johnston Press, says Highfield’s “combined online and media sector pedigree will be a major strength in enabling us to grow our business again. “

It is not yet known who will succeed Highfield in his role at Microsoft.

John Fry announced his departure earlier in the year, and will handover to Highfield at the end of October.

This story first appeared on New Media Age. For more digital stories and analysis’ from NMA click here now

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here