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Matt Teeman is latest high-profile DMGT exit

Matt Teeman, the former commercial director of Metro turned group leader of its client sales team, has become the latest high-profile scalp of an ongoing review at parent Daily Mail and General Trust.

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Staff have been told Teeman will leave the company at the end of February, ending a turbulent 18 month stint with the publishing group.

His departure appears to draw a line under attempts to centrally align the division DMG Media's commercial operations for media agencies, with reporting lines now going back to brand - meaning separate contacts for the Daily Mail, Mail Online and Metro.

Teeman's exit follows the departure of Metro's managing director Linda Grant in December, and the announced exits of Mail Newspapers' managing director Guy Zitter and DMG Media's commercial managing director, Marcus Rich.

Teeman was a star hiring of Metro's former MD Grant and was given responsibility for all advertising and direct to consumer revenues across an expanding Metro business.

Together they aggressively pursued Metro's digital offering, which included developing Metro's  website, iPad app and smartphone app.  

The free morning newsbrand set its stall out to be a brand that not only connects with readers on the morning commute, but one that is able to engage with them throughout the day across multiple platforms.

The strategy attracted general support as the penetration of mobile devices and access to wi-fi increased - propelled by the roll-out of Wi-Fi across many Underground and train stations ahead of the London 2012 Olympics.

However, tensions started to mount within DMGT last year, when it became apparent Metro's near £15 million boost from Olympic ad revenues would lead to tough comparatives, with revenues in 2013 believed to have fallen by around 12%.

Supporters of Grant and Teeman suggest once Olympic ads are stripped out, the newsbrand ended 2013 down 3% (on 2011), while the wider newspaper market fell -5%. In addition, tablet revenues increased 150%, albeit from a modest launch base, and similarly online revenues were up 30%. 

However, critics suggest the leaders took their eyes off the ball at the freesheet, where revenues continue to be over-whelmingly driven by print.

Managing director, Steve Auckland, who has reinstated former trading director Grant Woodthorpe, says Metro is focused back on developing its print opportunities as well as nurturing its now established digital platforms.

Auckland told Media Week the last two months have seen notably lifts in trading at Metro, with cautious optimism growing after double-digit rises year-on-year.

Prior to joining DMGT, 44 year old Teeman had worked at BBC Magazines for 18 years before becoming managing director of advertising at Immediate Media, the publishing company formed after the private equity takeover of BBC Magazines.

His redundancy from DMGT might not be the last, with Boston Consulting Group still reviewing operations at Northcliffe House for DMGT's chief executive, Kevin Beatty.

This article was first published on mediaweek.co.uk

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