Newspaper publishing group Associated Newspapers, which includes the Daily Mail and General Trust and Northcliffe Media companies, is merging its IT divisions, resulting in the departure of Associated Newspapers CIO Ian Cohen.

A restructuring announced today will see the national Associated Newspapers IT group, which publishes the Daily Mail and Metro papers, merge with the regional newspapers Northcliffe IT group. In a statement from Associated Newspapers corporate affairs said, “IT organisations across Associated Newspapers Limited and Northcliffe Media Limited are being merged to create A&N Media IT Services to optimise on-going systems support and development.”

Cohen and Associated confirmed he will be leaving the company at the end of this month.

Cohen joined Associated Newspapers in 2005 having been CIO at the Financial Times and before joining Fleet Street he had a career e-commerce at Lloyds TSB. Earlier this year he told CIO how he was driving through a series of efficiencies for the Kensington-based company, including platforms for sharing content across the entire Associated and Northcliffe corporation.

Internet delivery of Associated news has been strong this year with a re-launched Daily Mail web site under Cohen which quickly become the most highly trafficked news site in the UK. Recent financial results for the Associated group have also been strong, bucking the downward slide affecting most newspaper groups. Its half-year results for the first half of 2008 showed a five per cent increase in revenues and profit. Northcliffe, like many regional newspaper publishers, has had a difficult year.

Cohen, at Associated, was a fierce believer in the multi-channel media strategy the company had to follow. “People are now consuming the media in lots of channels. The challenge is to engage with the reader in the channel they want to engage with.”

David Henderson has been promoted from IT Director of the Northcliffe division to CIO of the new A&N Media IT Services division with immediate effect. In his new role Henderson will report to the Operations Director Ian Hanson.

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