Business Irish

Saturday 30 August 2014

INM taps Tesco executive to lead publisher

Thomas Molloy

Published 16/07/2014 | 02:30

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Independent News & Media PLC Chairman Leslie Buckley
Independent News & Media PLC Chairman Leslie Buckley

INDEPENDENT News & Media has named Robert Pitt as the publisher's next chief executive.

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The owner of this newspaper said the 43-year-old Dubliner will take up his position this autumn. He currently heads Tesco's operations in the Czech Republic where he oversaw the merger of local rivals and spear-headed online shopping.

"The board is delighted," said INM chairman Leslie Buckley. "The news publishing sector faces many challenges and Robert Pitt, whose extensive experience includes change management and digital strategy, is well equipped to lead INM into the future."

Shares in INM were unchanged in Dublin following the announcement and analysts welcomed the appointment. Goodbody's Rachael Cairns highlighted Mr Pitt's experience.

"It's quite an interesting choice," Ms Cairns said. "There's a fresh perspective as well. The fact that it's not somebody from inside the publishing industry could be very positive."

Mr Pitt has carved out a career in Tesco's Eastern European operations in recent years. He was involved in the acquisition of rival chains called Zabka and Koruna in the Czech Republic and led Tesco's move into online grocery shopping.

The University College Dublin economics graduate speaks five languages.

He emigrated to Prague in 1993 where he later got a job with PricewaterhouseCoopers in the Czech capital. He then helped set up a property joint venture in Beijing but returned to Ireland to help establish Lidl here. The German chain then asked him to 
repeat the process in Eastern Europe.

Married to a Czech wife with four daughters, the Dalkey native replaces Vincent Crowley who stepped down in May.

Irish Independent

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