Tuesday, December 18, 2007

New Metro CEO begins making cuts

COMMENTARY: The decision by the new CEO of Metro International to kill a home-delivered real estate edition in Stockholm, Sweden may not seem that significant in North America. But the move by Per Mikael Jensen (pictured) is the first of many cuts he is planning to get his far flung company back in the black. Metro hasn't said where his review of the company's operations will take him next. But in the United States, Metro has three papers — in Boston, Philadelphia and New York — and none of them are profitable. In the most recent quarter, sales were off 12 percent in Boston and 5 percent in Philadelphia compared to the same period last year. New York was the only bright spot with a 18 percent jump. If Jensen's aim is to eliminate all money-losing papers within the 100 city chain, then these three U.S. editions are goners. But they probably have survived this long because of the prestige factor -- Metro really can't claim it is a worldwide company without a presence in the United States. Is prestige more important than profits? Maybe so, since the real estate pub Jensen killed was in the city where Metro began.