Friday, 7 November 2008

Black Friday

News today that Sun Media chief Michael Sifton is out and Pierre Karl Peladeau is taking personal command of Sun Media and Canoe is seen by some as a death knell for the Sun as we know it.

"Sifton is out . . . PKP is back in charge," writes a TSF reader. "Apparently advertising lost about half a dozen folks. Strategy looks to meld Canoe and Sun Media."

Says another insider: "It is the worst possible news. Disastrous. And from the man who brought down Quebecor World."

Sifton, former chief of Osprey Media, was appointed Sun Media chief a month after Osprey's sale to Quebecor in 2007. He appeared to be a calming buffer between anxious Sun employees and PKP.

Today's stunning announcement in a press release induced flashbacks to the ousting of Doug Creighton as CEO on Nov. 5, 1992, almost 16 years to the day.

It is not that Quebecor Media overall is losing money.

The Financial Post says Quebecor reported third-quarter profit of $45-million, reversing a $35-million loss a year earlier.

But PKP says quarterly earnings for Quebecor's publishing and Internet businesses were "disappointing."

Well, if PKP resumes his heavy fists tactics across the Sun Media chain, as witnessed before Sifton became Sun Media chief, you ain't seen nothing yet.

That is the kind of change Sun Media does not need.

TSF heard only positive comments about Sifton in the months after being named Sun Media chief. His family had been in the newspaper business for three generations and it showed.

Employees have been feeling more positive about its future under Sifton, with hirings and a return to a focus on local news.

The silence from Sifton in recent weeks was deafening and now we know why.

But always the gentleman . . .

"I am happy to have been given the opportunity to integrate Osprey Media in Sun Media organization," Sifton said in a press release. "I leave behind talented people and a strong team that will no doubt successfully take on the challenges that our changing environment is bringing."

Thousands of Sun employees might not be sharing his optimism today.

Duck and cover.


  1. Absolutely terrible and devasating news. PKP is a fist-pounding tyrant who rules through fear and intimidation. Not surprisingly, those values permeate the organization from the top down and lead to widespread demorallization, demotivation and apathy. Fear does not inspire pride or greatness. He doesn’t get it. Sifton was the only link with sanity and a real journalistic sensibility. Lots of sluggos have every reason now to be getting a little squishy, wondering when the next round of executions will begin, and PK has plenty of sycophantic managers who have floated to the top of the latrine by saluting and obeying, willing to carry out the orders to save their own sorry skins. A black day indeed.

  2. Pierre Karl Peladeau hasn't found his way to becoming an effective leader. He strikes many in the media community as a son who wants to be more successful than his hugely successful father. His dad did it in his own culture in Quebec with a touch for the common person because he had been a common person in Quebec. The privileged son has jammed convergence from Montreal down the throats of Sun Media outlets across the county without doing his due diligence. He does not have experience at the grassroots level, allows for uncoordinated and untested initiatives and has Brian Mulroney on the board. Silly goose. Pierre Karl, even Napoleon would ask not if an officer was good, but if he was lucky. It was this leadership and imagination that led to colossal victories and the Napoleonic Code by which many judicial systems are based. He had large losses (Moscow, Waterloo) but left his imprint on the world. Don't make mistakes of a smaller magnitude that are coming (English Canada, the Internet). Surround yourself with people that haven't been bought or paid for. Bring in people who are good and lucky.