As predicted in Crikey on Monday, new Fairfax chief operating officer
Brian Evans has announced a revised “org chart” for the ailing
newspaper publisher.

Now Fairfax not only has a CEO and a new COO, but it has added a
GE (Group Executive), an MD/Vic (managing director, Victoria) and an
MD/NSW (managing director, NSW).

As Fairfax CEO Fred Hilmer said in yesterday’s announcement to
staff, the company’s experiment with a national newspaper structure run
out of Sydney has completely failed, so now it’s back to the old
structure run out of Sydney and Melbourne. He didn’t exactly use those
words – he used this management gobbledygook:

Two years ago, we created the Metropolitan
Newspaper business unit as a functional structure that included
Editorial, Commercial and Group Operations. The aim was to break down
our “silo mentality”, allowing us to better share content, costs and
best practices as well as to better serve key advertisers who were
looking for a single point of contact.

With these gains largely achieved, we are now moving to the next
step, a process that started with the appointment of Brian Evans as
Chief Operating Officer, Australia. Brian outlines below a new
state-based structure for the Metropolitan, Regional and Community
Newspaper Division.

But the best comment on the latest reshuffle of the deckchairs comes in
this item in the CBD column of the company’s own flagship, The Sydney Morning Herald, today:

Everybody knows when the going gets tough, the tough go to lunch. So it
was for Fairfax executive Alan Revell, who yesterday dealt with the
unveiling of a new management structure by his (still) boss Fred Hilmer
by heading to the more comfortable confines of East Sydney’s Beppi’s
Restaurant. We guess he figured someone there might be able to explain
what his new title of “group executive” meant, a shift from being boss
of the company’s commercial division.

Revell will still answer to Hilmer and focus on “new media” (hey,
why doesn’t he call it F3?), with the change part of a wider
restructure by new operational boss Brian Evans, who’s into his ninth
day on the job.

We hope Revell’s dining companion, Michael Hannan, who runs the
much coveted Federal Publishing, was able to offer support in such
uncertain times.