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News International offers new roles to defunct title's top brass

LONDON - Key executives at the now defunct thelondonpaper, including managing director Ian Clark, are to gain new roles with parent News International, although 40 staff have lost their jobs.

Final edition: thelondonpaper

Final edition: thelondonpaper

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Following the freesheet's final edition on 18 September, editor Stefano Hatfield, head of trading Naim Hall­oum and marketing director Nicole Refson are also understood to be staying with the group, although details of their roles have yet to be finalised.

The decision by News International to close the paper, announced in August, originally put 60 jobs at risk. About 20 of the affected staff are thought to be staying with the group.

It is thought NI chief executive Rebekah Brookes has given assurances to Clark and Hat­field that they would have new roles.

Halloum has been appointed head of creative solutions, reporting to Abba Newbury, NI solutions director, with immediate effect. He will be responsible for developing commercial partnerships across all four of NI's brands - The Times, The Sunday Times, The Sun and News of the World. Halloum replaces Nick Hammond.

Halloum joined NI in 2006 and previously worked at AdMedia (from 2005 to 2006) and Associated Newspapers, the publisher of the Daily Mail (from 1999 to 2005).

In August, News International announced plans to close thelondonpaper, its free evening newspaper, just three years after it launched.

The paper remained loss-making in its second year, although the loss narrowed markedly from the previous year. According to accounts for the year to 30 June 2008, NI Free Newspapers posted a £12.96m loss.

However, this was down from the £16.48m loss posted during the ­previous 12 months. NI Free Newspapers was set up on 1 July 2006 and launched thelondonpaper on 4 September the same year.

Announcing the closure, James Murdoch, chairman and chief executive, Europe and Asia, News Corporation, said the performance of the title "[had] fallen short of expectations".

This article was first published on mediaweek.co.uk

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