KENYA, APR 24 — Nation Media Group Limited (Plc) has appointed Stephen Dunbar-Johnson to the board of directors with effect from April 13, 2018.
Dunbar-Johnson is the President, International of the New York Times Company and is responsible for the oversight and strategic development of the company’s international digital and print business.
Previously, he was the publisher of the International Herald Tribute.
“The board of Nation Media Group PLC, is pleased to announce the appointment of Mr. Stephen Dunbar-Johnson to the board of directors,” the company said in a public notice on Tuesday.
Dunbar-Johnson is a graduate of Worth School and Kent University in the United Kingdom. He holds an MBA (executive management) from Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and has undertaken the Sulzberger programme at the Colombia School of Journalist.
His appointment comes after a recent exodus of top managers at the East and Central Africa largest private media house, which saw the exit of Group’s CEO Joseph Muganda in January, followed by the departure of NTV Genaral Manager Linus Kaikai who has joined rival Royal Media Services.
Top journalist Larry Madowo who left last month has join BBC as business editor. Muganda is the Vivo Energy managing director.
The group laid-off at least 15 journalists this year as part of a reorganisation strategy.
NMG has carried similar layoffs in the past three years. In 2016, the company laid-off more than 150 employees and shut three radio stations and a Swahili television station.
The Nairobi Securities Exchange listed firm recorded a 23.5 per cent drop in profit for the year ended December 2017, blamed on a shortfall in revenue arising from reduced advertising volumes.
Profit for the year closed at Ksh1.3 billion, down from Ksh1.7 billion recorded the previous year.
The firm’s annual turnover was Ksh10.6 billion, a 6.2 per cent drop from Ksh11.3 billion in 2016.
NMG said in its financial statement that earnings shrunk mainly following low corporate clients activities, which were affected by the prolonged election period in Kenya.
“The results were also impacted by deterioration in the credit quality across the group, as a result of delayed payments particularly from the regional governments,” the group said.
The impact of the adverse business environment on the performance was however mitigated by the reorganisation of operations and continued cost management initiatives, the firm said.
Nation spent Ksh259 million in a one-off severance pay in a staff reorganisation scheme
The group has expressed confidence in its business saying it remains optimistic of a good performance this year.
“Outlook for 2018 is generally positive, with the regional economies expected to improve, with higher contributions from new revenue streams especially from the digital division and management actions to make the operations more efficient,” it said.
Media houses in Kenya are struggling with low advertising revenues after the government last year froze all direct advertisements by ministries, departments and institutions.
The Jubilee government introduced its own publication dubbed “MY.GOV” where all adverts are published, with the main national newspapers acting as carriers at a small fee.