LONDON, Jan 28 (Reuters) - British regional newspaper group Johnston Press said media-industry
veteran Roger Parry would retire as chairman in March and would be replaced by non-executive director Ian Russell.
Parry, who holds a clutch of media-company chairmanships, said with John Fry newly installed as chief executive, it was an ideal time to hand over to Russell.
'Johnston Press now has a new chief executive in place, a successful rights issue was completed in 2008 and a major restructuring has approved by the board and is well under way,' he said in a statement.
Parry said the 12 years in which he had been on the board, with eight as chairman, had been characterised by industry consolidation, whereas the last year has been about responding to the recession -- a challenge which would remain for his successor.
The company's exclusive focus on local newspapers has caused it to suffer more than rivals with national titles in the downturn, as property, job and car advertising has slumped.
Shares in the group, which have lost 97 percent of their value in the last two years, were up 9 percent at 9 pence at 1140 GMT, valuing the publisher at 57.6 million pounds ($82.3 million).
Parry, who started his career at advertising agency Saatchi & Saatchi, is chairman of four other media companies: research group YouGov, advertising agency Media Square, magazine publisher Future and mobile content firm Mobile Streams, according to his website.
He was also lined up by private-equity group Permira to lead its unsuccessful bid for music retailer HMV Group in 2006.
Russell, his successor, joined Johnston's board in 2007, and is the former chief executive and finance director of Scottish Power plc.
(Reporting by Paul Sandle; Editing by Hans Peters) ($1=.7002 Pound) Keywords: JOHNSTON PRESS/
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