Former Johnston Press CEO joins luxury yacht company

Simon Austin's picture
by Simon Austin

Former Johnston Press chief executive Ashley Highfield has been appointed to the board of a luxury yacht company.

Highfield announced he was stepping down from Johnston Press last month and was described as a “disaster” by the company’s biggest shareholder, Christen Ager-Hanssen.

“I’m very happy that the board have taken our view on the situation with Highfield - he was a disaster for the company,” Ager-Hanssen, whose Custos Group owns 20% of the regional publisher, said.

“Let’s hope we now can move forward and sort out the mess he created in Johnston Press PLC.”

Highfield formally stepped down as CEO as the company’s annual general meeting last Tuesday, after nearly seven years in the role. He will be replaced by chief financial officer David King.

Ager-Hanssen described Highfield's exit as "no more than rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic" - and the former CEO has now Hbeen appointed as a non-executive director of Oyster Yachts. The company describes itself as “one of the world’s leading manufacturers of premium sailing yachts.”

Highfield tweeted: “Delighted and honoured to be part of the crew. Oyster is Our World.”

Richard Hadida, Oyster’s CEO, added: “We are committed to building the best possible team here at Oyster which we believe will put us in the strongest position to deliver an effective turnaround and get Oyster back to where it should be – the absolute pinnacle in yacht design.

“Getting the right leadership, oversight and governance in place is key to building a sustainable business. These appointments fit perfectly. They bring extensive industry expertise and corporate experience.

“Most importantly, all Board members are a great cultural fit. Their passion for sailing and the Oyster brand is clear.”