The Walkley award-winning journalist had acted as interim head for the past two months. His CV includes various roles at Fairfax’s newspaper and magazine portfolios.
He replaces Bryan McCarthy, who had been chief executive since December 2008.
Hywood’s experience included publisher and editor roles at the Australian Financial Review, the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age as well as positions on Fairfax Magazines.
He was appointed following an international search. Fairfax Media chairman Roger Corbett revealed that Hywood’s “experience and knowledge of the sector and the company” made him a “stand out choice”.
Hywood said: “Fairfax Media remains the home of independent journalism and in recent years has been transforming into a geographically and technically diverse, digitally driven media company. It is poised to continue to grow and prosper.”
However journalist Mark Day of The Australian outlined the difficult task Hywood will have ahead of him in terms of reorganising the business: “Cutting a swath through management may be Hywood’s first task, but he’ll need to do more. He has to get on the front foot to carve a path for the company in an uncertain, changing, digital future.”
Fairfax Media’s share price fell to $1.37 from an opening price of $1.375 following the announcement this morning.
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