Kjell Aamot, Schibsted's CEO, will step down by 1 March 2010 it was announced when Oslo Stock Exchange opened today.
An online enthusiast, Aamot has come under fire recently for predicting the demise of print newspapers, but has since insisted he was only talking about the business model for paid-for print papers. Like most media companies, Schibsted, which owns market leading paid and free papers all over Europe, has seen its share price, and more recently its revenues, fall drastically in the wake of the financial meltdown.
However, during a press conference this morning Aamot said only the economic crisis prevented him from announcing his resignignation already in the autumn of 2008. He explained that 20 years as a CEO had taken its toll. "I have to admit one does get pretty exhausted," he said, and added that he had found himself struggling to recharge his batteries and find the motivation to go on last summer.
"Kjell Aamot has held the position as CEO of Schibsted ASA since the Group was formed in 1989. He is one of the CEOs with the longest tenure among listed Norwegian companies. He will continue in his position until the Board of Directors has appointed his successor and the successor has assumed this position, but no longer than 1 March 2010. With a new CEO in place, Aamot will be at the Group's disposal until his 60th birthday, 7 September 2010," the company said in a press release.
Analysts my colleague Martin H. Jensen spoke to said it had been expected that Aamot wanted to scale back when he turned 60, and, as it's obvious that Schibsted has a major job to do in view of recent events, it made sense that the resignation came now.
'I would say that Aamot more than anything is a visionary. This has benefited Schibsted immensly, exactly because the company has not been just sitting on the fence as other media companies have. He has also been criticised for perhaps pursuing expansion and innovation too aggressively at times, but all together I think he has made the right moves for Schibsted,' said Atle Vereide in Enskilda.See also:
- My other recent post on Schibsted: "Freesheets may be in the frontline trenches of this war, but it's only the tip of the iceberg"
- Insignificances: Schibsted head saves face
: "You really can’t blame the man for his reluctance to go down in history as the boss who brought about the inevitable Schibsted newspaper onslaught – as well as, undoubtedly, massive cuts in other media operations."