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Last updated: November 27, 2012 10:07 pm
Rona Fairhead, chairman and chief executive of the Financial Times Group, announced on Tuesday that she is leaving Pearson following a 12-year career at the group that owns the FT.
Ms Fairhead, who has held a number of roles at the education and information group including chief financial officer, said she wanted to pursue the next stage of her career outside the company. She took over as head of the FT Group in 2006 and will leave Pearson in April 2013 when she will also step down from the company’s board.
“The leadership transition at Pearson makes this a natural moment for me to make a change,” she said. “I will miss Pearson deeply but will cheer from the sidelines as its new leadership team develops and evolves Pearson’s successful strategy and culture.”
Ms Fairhead’s departure follows last month’s announcement that Dame Marjorie Scardino, chief executive of Pearson, is stepping down at the end of the year after 16 years. Dame Marjorie is being replaced by John Fallon, chief executive of Pearson’s international education division.
The departures of the two female executives will reduce the number of positions held by women on Pearson’s 13-member board to just two. Currently Pearson’s female representation at board level is significantly higher than the average of FTSE 100 companies of 17.2 per cent.
Pearson said on Tuesday that a decision had yet to be taken on a successor for Ms Fairhead. But analysts speculated that there was less need for an overall head of the FT Group, given how much the division has slimmed down under her tenure.
In the six years since she joined the FT, Pearson has undertaken several major disposals at the division.
These have included the sale of French newspaper group Les Echos in 2007 for €240m and the sale in 2010 of Pearson’s 61 per cent stake in Interactive Data, a provider of financial market data, for $2bn. Last year Pearson sold its 50 per cent stake in FTSE International for £450m.
Glen Moreno, chairman of Pearson, said: “Rona has been not only an outstanding leader and executive at Pearson, but also a valuable contributor to our board. She has played an important role in all our key strategic discussions and decisions, and the whole board joins me in thanking Rona and wishing her continued success.”
John Ridding remains chief executive of the Financial Times, which publishes the FT newspaper and FT.com.
The latest trading statement from Pearson for the third quarter reported sales up 7 per cent at the FT Group. Combined digital and print circulation at its flagship brand rose above 600,000 with digital subscriptions up 17 per cent to 313,000 for the nine months to the end of October.
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