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Top Mecom executive resigns after German deal

Just as Mecom finally put up the official statement about its German disposal yesterday, news broke that the man in charge of finding a new ownership solution for its Norwegian division, Edda Media, had resigned.

There are no boring days with this company: as someone who's followed Mecom from its early days I can tell you it's been a colourful tale from day one, a fact I guess Europe's media hacks should be grateful for - though they've often failed to take advantage of it.

No sooner was the German deal done and dusted, when it was announced Jan Moberg, who was relieved of his administrative duties as CEO of Edda Media "in order to focus on new ownership solutions" for Edda in October 2008, was to step down. Union representatives blamed friction between Moberg and Truls Velgaard, the CEO of Mecom Poland, who was brought in to take over running Edda, and said the former had been a good manager who would be sorely missed. Media site Kampanje claimed there had been disagreement between Mecom-boss David Montgomery and Moberg about selling parts of Edda Media, but Moberg declined to comment.

Jan Moberg (left) and David Montgomery (photo copyrighted to, and courtesy of, Martin H. Jensen, edits by me. I believe it was snapped after this most intriguing debate)

The British media company's Norwegian division has attracted indicative bids from rival newspaper companies A-pressen and Berner Gruppen, as well as one for its news operations in Western Norway from Polaris Media, but employee representatives have said they think the German deal makes it less likely the local newspaper group, the best performing among the Mecom divisions, will be sold.

Montgomery pictured here reading Edda newspaper Drammens Tidende (DT), where both Moberg and yours truly have served as editorial columnists - both before Mecom acquired it, but not at the same time (copyrights: same as above photo).

Moberg does not have a new job lined up, but the media executive has a parallel career as a playwright. He is best known to Norwegian children as the author of "The Christmas Scoundrel" (not to be confused with Scrooge, though both do their best to put a damper on the festive season), and if working for Mecom has been as colourful as the saga of its rapid expansion, and now contraction, has appeared to the outsider, perhaps we can look forward to a few inspired new plays in the years to come?



More people resigne at Mecom:
"Mecom Group plc ("Mecom" or the "Group") announces that Alasdair Locke has become the Chairman of the Group. David Montgomery, who has been Executive Chairman of the Group since its foundation, remains the Chief Executive. This change is in accordance with the undertaking Mecom gave at the time of its elevation to the main list last year to split the roles of Chairman and Chief Executive.

Stephen Davidson joins the Board as the Senior Independent Director. Mr. Davidson is currently the chairman of Datatec Ltd. and Digital Marketing Group plc, and a non-executive director of Inmarsat plc.

Mecom also announces that John Allwood, the Group's Finance Director, has resigned. Henry Davies, the Group's Financial Controller, becomes acting Finance Director replacing John on the Board until such time as a search for a new Group Finance Director has been completed. Keith Allen remains on the Board as an Executive Director.

Jan Houwert, John McNeil, Sir Robin Miller, Richard North and Rob Pieterse have resigned as non-executive Directors."

Announcement last week from Mecom.

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