Changes announced internally at Network Services last week read to me like a downgrade in focus on newsagents. While the company will deny this, my view is based on the backgrounds of those they are promoting into newsagent related roles and considering the experience of those they are promoting out of newsagent related roles.
- After 7 years in the role of Group GM of Network Services including responsibility for Magshop and Netlink in NZ, Niall Murphy is moving to a non distribution role at Bauer Custom Media. Niall’s knowledge will be a loss.
- Tony Edwards will take the role of Group GM – Retail Distribution. He’ll have responsibility for Network Services and Netlink in Australia and New Zealand. Tony 13 years experience of working within the industry including managing Netlink NZ and more recently as Client Services Director for Network. The downside is a lack of knowledge and experience of the Australian marketplace. Our magazine distribution model is unique.
- David James is taking on the role of Group GM – Magshop & Subscriptions Services. The goal here to build a more integrated service offering within the Print & Digital subscriptions according to the internal announcement. David moving from a management role in Network in the distribution area will be a loss to the business and to newsagents.
- Marena Paul takes a newly created role – Commercial Manager Retail & Operations. This role will oversee distribution and subscriptions areas as well as providing commercial strategy support.
Further to this, the person now with management responsibility of the call centre has a large corporate account background. They have no experience with small business owners like newsagents.
Last year network lost key call centre staff and we are still feeling the experience of this today. Whereas Network services used to have a clear escalation process that worked, today the company does not – although it will deny this.
Network Services in 2014 appears to me to be more focused on national retailers than single business operators like newsagents.