Citing family reasons and a desire to transition to a ‘plural’ non-executive director role, Highfield will pass the baton to David King, current chief financial officer, from the AGM onward.
Highfield said: "I have been privileged to lead Johnston Press during a period of unprecedented turbulence in our industry. Since 2011 we have grown our overall audience in particular our digital business, created an industry leading tele-sales operation and maintained margins. The acquisition of the i newspaper has been a particular highlight.”
Johnston press chairman Camilla Rhodes added: "On behalf of the board, I would like to thank Ashley for his significant contribution since becoming CEO in 2011. We are sorry that he felt that his personal circumstances required a change at this time.”
Highfield stepped up to the plate as CEO in 2011 pledging to drive operational savings.