Shake up in Punch newspapers as management removes editors, announces replacements

The management of Punch Nigeria Limited, the publisher of PUNCH online and newspaper titles, has embarked a shake-up removing its two title editors, their deputies and key managers, exercised that targeted high-level employees of the organization.

Penpushing reports that the management was, however, silent on the non-editorial managers affected by what it said was part of a recent restructuring exercise across the company’s divisions, while the editor of the daily title Adedayo Oketola, and the editor of Weekend Titles, Olusola Fabiyi, were on Friday asked to resign.

The media outlet in the same vein, asked the Deputy Editor of The PUNCH, Olaniyi Odebode, to resign, and thereafter redeployed the Deputy Editor, Weekend Titles, Yusuff Moshood, to PUNCH Digital, the company in charge of its digital platforms, as Deputy Editor.

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Penpushing further reports that those affected in the Editorial Division of the organisation were the Controller, Business and Finance, Bayode Olukotun; General Manager, Corporate Services, Olufolakemi Gbemuotor; and the Chief Accountant, Michael Adegbola.

The sources added that the affected editors were asked to give one-month notice in their resignation letters, while the affected top administrative and finance officials were ordered to give a three-month exit notice.

Penpushing also reports that the sources added that the management announced the decision to force the senior members of staff to resign on Friday based on a resolution of the company’s board, and the forced resignations came about a year ahead of the affected personnel’s retirement age or end of tenures.

The General Manager, Corporate Services, Olufolakemi Gbemuotor for instance was due for retirement next year after putting in 34 years as an employee, while the two title editors, Messrs Oketola and Fabiyi, who were appointed for a three-year renewable tenure each in March 2022, and by their appointment dates, expected to have till early next year to complete their terms in office.

Penpushing reports that number of journalists at the organisation expressed shock at the sudden disengagement of the two editors, referencing the accolades the duo have received from within and outside the company in the last few months.

The journalists cited the recent feats achieved by the editors and celebrated by the company,stressing that for instance, Oketola emerged as the Editor of the Year, and led The PUNCH to win the Newspaper of the Year prize at the last edition of the Nigeria Media Merit Awards (NMMA) in December 2023.

Penpushing further reports that in similar feat Fabiyi was named by the company as the best manager, and a cash prize award was given to him for his sterling performance, just as findings showed that the organization did not come out with any offences that might have been committed by the affected officials.

The management in a publication posted on its website announcing the shake-up in the leadership of the editorial division on Saturday, acknowledged their positive contributions to the company’s strategic objectives.

Penpushing also reports that the management in similar vein acknowledged the contributions of Niyi Odebode, the outgoing Deputy Editor, The PUNCH, who served in various capacities at the organisation during his 31-year stint.

The management in the changes announced the Business Editor of The PUNCH, Oyetunji Abioye,as the new editor of The PUNCH, in acting capacity, as well as Samson Folarin, the Features Editor of the paper’s Weekend Titles (Saturday PUNCH & Sunday PUNCH) as acting Editor, Weekend Titles.

Penpushing reports that in the shake-up the outgoing editor of The PUNCH, Oketola, and Editor of the newspaper’s Weekend Titles, Fabiyi, will hand over to their successors on Monday, 22 July 2024., while the management equally approved the appointment of the Editor, PUNCH SportsExtra, ‘Tana Aiyejina, as the successor of Olaniyi Odebode, the Deputy Editor, The PUNCH, in acting capacity.

The current Editor, Healthwise, Tessy Igomu is to take over from Yusuff Moshood as the Deputy Editor, Weekend Titles, in acting capacity, while Moshood was redeployed to PUNCH Digital as the Deputy Editor.

Penpushing further reports that in a statement, the newly appointed acting editor of The PUNCH, Abioye pledged to continue to uphold PUNCH’s time-tested journalistic and corporate values expressing confidence that the values would enable him to effectively harness the opportunities presented by the current challenges in the media industry.

The acting editor is a graduate of Economics from Babcock University, who joined PUNCH in 2007, and rose through the ranks, getting appointed as the Group Business Editor of The PUNCH in 2021, while the new acting editor of the Weekend Titles (Saturday PUNCH & Sunday PUNCH), Folarin is a graduate of Mass Communication of the University of Lagos who joined PUNCH as a correspondent in 2013.

This is definitely a huge task, but I pledge to apply myself to the job to ensure that PUNCH’s ascendancy in the media industry is sustained,” he said of his appointment.

Penpushing also reports that the current online editor, Olalekan Adetayo is a 2008 graduate of Journalism of the Lagos State University, who joined PUNCH in 2001 as a reporter, while Aiyejina is a graduate of English of the Ambrose Alli University and the pioneer Editor of the PUNCH Group’s sports title, who joined the organization in 2008 as a correspondent.

The current Editor, Healthwise, Igomu, is a graduate of Mass Communication of the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, who joined PUNCH as a Chief Correspondent in 2020, while Moshood, a holder of a Master’s in Public Administration from Lagos State University, joined PUNCH in 2020 as a Sub-Assistant Editor in the Online Department.

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