Toronto Star Publisher Stepping Down

CBJ — Torstar has announced that John Cruickshank will be stepping down as publisher of the Toronto Star and president of the Star Media Group on May 4. The date coincides with the company’s annual shareholders meeting.

The responsibilities of the 62-year-old Cruickshank will be assumed on an interim basis by David Holland, who is president and chief executive of Torstar. Cruickshank will remain co-chair of the board of Canadian Press Enterprises as a Torstar director.

Torstar didn’t announce the reason for Cruickshank’s departure after more than seven years as publisher of the group’s flagship newspaper, which has Canada’s largest daily circulation, although the numbers have dropped off significantly over the past several years. In an effort to combat smaller readership numbers, it was recently announced that the Toronto Star would no longer be printed at Torstar’s Vaughan location but rather will be printed as part of a contract deal with Transcontinental.  The publisher has also made a fervent push to enhance its digital presence over the past few years, spending millions on its Star Touch tablet edition in an effort to lure younger readers on such devices as tablets and smartphones.

Introduced late last year, the app has been downloaded more than 200,000 times and has 65,000 weekly and 26,000 daily users, who typically spend more than 22 minutes a day on it.