Torstar CEO to retire, successor will also be Toronto Star publisher

TORONTO – The roles of president and CEO of Torstar Corp. and publisher of the Toronto Star will be amalgamated into one position, the company said Wednesday as it announced David Holland would retire this fall.

Holland is retiring after 30 years with the company, including seven years as president and CEO of Torstar.

The announcement comes two months after John Cruickshank stepped down as publisher of the company’s flagship newspaper. Holland had assumed the publisher’s duties on an interim basis.

A search is underway to fill the new joint position.

The choice to combine the roles came down to “economic efficiencies,” said Bob Hepburn, director of Torstar’s community relations and communications.

Torstar and other media companies have been struggling in recent years as consumers and advertisers shift towards online and digital alternatives and away from conventional newspapers, television and radio.

For its first quarter of its 2016 fiscal year, Torstar reported a $53.5-million loss as it transitioned to more digital media, like its Toronto Star Touch application, and saw revenue fall at its traditional newspaper business.

The company has banked on its Star Touch app to attract a younger audience, as well as small digital ventures like its investment in VerticalScope, to help offset declining print advertising revenues.

“The business landscape has continued to evolve rapidly and I am very proud of the efforts made and underway across the company to adapt to that changing environment,” Holland said.

Torstar reports its second quarter financial results July 27.

The company holds an investment in The Canadian Press as part of a joint agreement with a subsidiary of the Globe and Mail and the parent company of Montreal’s La Presse.