Kevin Hands, chief executive and former golden boy at UK media giant Emap, has been given just six months to reverse the group’s financial slide after he conceded the failure of its foray into the US publishing market.

Hands was appointed chief executive of the group in 1997 after his spectacular turnround of its ailing French operations. In 1998, his ambitions drove the $1.2 billion (£720m) acquisition of US publishing group Peterson whose fortunes then progressively declined. Emap has decided to cut its losses and Peterson will shortly be put up for sale – a move that could incur an exceptional charge of £500m.

Nor did Hands’ other strategies endear him to investors or Emap staff, in particular the centralising of the group’s consumer advertising sales operation which led to an immediate sag in revenues. Investors are also said to be concerned at Emap’s high level of debt.

News Source: CampaignLive (UK)