Torstar names John Boynton as new CEO and publisher of the Toronto Star

Torstar names John Boynton as new CEO

TORONTO — Torstar Corp. (TSX:TS.B) named a senior executive from loyalty rewards company Aimia Inc. as its new chief executive and publisher of the Toronto Star, picking a marketing veteran to help tackle challenges including declining print revenue.

The newspaper publisher and digital media company said Friday that John Boynton will assume the top job effective March 31. Boynton has been chief marketing officer of the Americas Coalitions business at Aimia, the Montreal-based owner of Aeroplan.

“John is a proven strategic leader and a turnaround specialist with a unique blend of marketing and advertising experience that will benefit both Torstar’s newspapers and its digital businesses,” Torstar chairman John Honderich said in a statement.

“His background in leading successful teams in a variety of businesses, including data, digital, technology, Internet, mobile, video, entertainment and consumer goods, is ideally suited for Torstar at this time in the company’s evolution towards a more digital and mobile future.”

Torstar’s latest results out on Wednesday highlighted the company’s struggles. Like many other newspaper publishers, its revenue dropped in 2016. Print advertising sales fell as both advertisers and readers moved online. At the same time, revenue from digital ventures like Star Touch, the Toronto’s Star’s tablet edition, has not offset those losses.

Before joining Aimia (TSX:AIM), Boynton was chief marketing officer for Rogers Communications Inc. (TSX:RCI.B). He also held senior roles at Sprint Canada, AT&T Canada, Scott’s Hospitality and Pepsico.

Torstar said that Boynton’s background in marketing and advanced data analytics and monetization will help the company in offering new opportunities for its advertising and marketing clients.

“I am excited to be part of the future and hope to lead a fantastic team to a new chapter in leveraging these assets in new ways to drive new growth,” Boynton said in a statement.

BMO Capital Markets analyst Tim Casey wrote in a note to clients that Boynton’s experience is relevant to Torstar as it struggles to transition its business model from print to digital.

“Boynton brings extensive experience and expertise in social, digital, and mobile strategy and execution,” Casey wrote.

Torstar has spent millions in recent years in an effort to develop its digital business, including Star Touch. However, Star Touch, which was based on the La Presse tablet app, has failed to meet readership expectations.

Boynton succeeds David Holland, who retired officially Friday.

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Torstar holds an investment in The Canadian Press as part of a joint agreement with a subsidiary of the Globe and Mail and the parent company of Montreal’s La Presse.

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