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SPH Magazines launches major restructuring exercise, to lay off 13 employees

SPH Magazines, the magazine arm of Singapore Press Holdings, will lay off 13 staff members this month as part of a major restructuring exercise.

This comes amid efforts to prepare its suite of magazines for a digitally-driven future, the company said in a statement on Tuesday.

SPH Magazines chief executive Loh Yew Seng said no titles will be closed in this exercise, though their performance will continue to be monitored.

The restructuring comprises several concurrent initiatives, including "right-sizing" staff numbers from 379 as at Aug 2017 to about 300.

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SPH Magazines said this reduction has "largely already been achieved through ongoing staff attrition and redeployment". But 13 employees who could not be redeployed will be retrenched in March and will receive compensation on terms negotiated with the staff union.

In addition, SPH Magazines' custom publishing team and its contract titles will be transferred to Focus Publishing, the contract publishing subsidiary of SPH's Chinese Media Group.

The other operating units will move to new premises at SPH News Centre in Toa Payoh. The group previously operated at separate locations at Genting Lane and Outram Road.

The editorial division, helmed by group editor-in-chief Caroline Ngui, will launch shared digital desks to speed up the company's digital-first strategy. The title teams will continue to handle both print and digital content.

Meanwhile, the sales and marketing teams will be re-organised across titles into two divisions:

- A unified sales division, renamed business solutions and headed by Maureen Wee, will handle advertising sales for all print and digital titles. The new unit will also be re-organised by industry sectors, rather than by individual titles.

- A market development division, headed by Geoff Tan, will work closely with business solutions and editorial and spearhead new marketing initiatives across all titles in the group. The team will comprise specialists in three areas: partnerships and strategy; insights and intelligence; and activations and sponsorships.

- A refocused digital development division, headed by Joseph Lee, will drive the continued strong growth of digital revenues.

Mr Loh said: "While editorial will maintain its sharp focus on serving our audiences, we believe that this new structure allows us to be more agile in developing multi-platform business solutions for our customers.

"Our investments in digital capabilities and assets over the last five years are paying off. Our digital products are showing consistent growth, despite the severely challenged media market. We will continue to expand our digital network and also roll out innovative advertising solutions. We are also investing further in analytics and our developer resources."