Memo: Report from Torstar executive offsite

Memo comes after Star Touch app was closed on June 27, 2017. Continue Reading Memo: Report from Torstar executive offsite

The following memo was sent to Star Media Group staff on July 10, 2017 from Sandy MacLeod, Chief Operating Officer, Print

Last week I joined John Boynton and a number of other Torstar executives at an offsite meeting to strategize about the future of the organization. The talks were cross-divisional and included all primary brands. We held the offsite with the knowledge that the traditional media business is challenged, and that economic growth has been evasive for some time.

While there is little concrete that we can share now, I want to give you a sense of the business outlook we are formulating. It’s truly a transformation of our business and how we view the future.

In short, we can see a path to growth again, albeit in two to three years. Also, we expect more economic pressures in the short term as we build the foundation for the future. We have considerable executive alignment coming out of the offsite and gaining better clarity on some of the issues we face and the directions we will follow. There are still several key issues that will require further analysis; work teams have been established to look at these areas.

One common theme agreed upon by the meeting participants is the sheer volume of work required to achieve our goals; specifically when it comes to having to manage the transformation process while still having to run the business on a daily basis. Allocation of resources will be a special challenge over the short term.

In the coming weeks, we will be incorporating feedback and work from the offsite to refine our transformation plan. A communication plan will be prepared for the late-July meeting of the Torstar board of directors. In August we will establish new workstreams to begin to execute on our transformation plan, and communicating with staff on a regular basis will be a big part of that.

We will continue to look at all aspects of our business, including the best of what we do now, as well as, the best practices of others. There are many encouraging news media business models emerging worldwide and we expect to join the leaders of our industry in building a strong, forward-looking growth plan.

Success will come from all of us working together as a united team. There will be difficult decisions to make along the way, but the leadership team has committed to communicate with you frequently and transparently.

You are a key part of this transformation. Your ongoing support and belief in our transformation is essential to our success. We look forward to sharing more details with you once we have reviewed them with the Torstar board.