Mr Pitt — a graduate of UCD, with a BA in Economics — has held a number of senior management roles for supermarket groups over the past 20 years, including Lidl and Tesco, but also worked with PwC.
Based in the Czech Republic for a number of years, he joins INM from Tesco’s operations there, where he was most recently chief operations officer. He has also held senior management positions with Lidl in the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Ireland.
He will formally take the helm at INM in the autumn.
At INM’s annual shareholder meeting, in early June, chairman Leslie Buckley said the board was hopeful of naming a successor to Mr Crowley — who left his post in May — prior to the publication of the group’s half-year financial results in August. At the same meeting, Mr Buckley noted that the new CEO would be “a critical appointment” for the media group, tasked with driving the business forward at a time of unparalleled change in the media sector.
Speaking yesterday, Mr Buckley said that Mr Pitt — who was selected after a recruitment process by INM’s nominations sub-committee, in conjunction with an independent recruitment firm — was partially picked due to his knowledge and experience of digital strategy; something set to drive the agenda at INM over the coming years.
“The news publishing sector faces many challenges and Robert Pitt — whose extensive experience includes change-management and digital strategy — is well-equipped to lead INM into the future,” said Mr Buckley.
Growing its digital revenues and monetising its online content are key parts of INM’s short and medium-term growth strategy. The group, however, is likely to cut staff further this year too, as part of an attempt to cut costs by another €20m (following savings of around €25m last year).