Peter Bruce, publisher of BDFM. Picture: BUSINESS DAY
Peter Bruce, publisher of BDFM. Picture: BUSINESS DAY

BDFM Publishers announced on Friday that Business Day editor Peter Bruce was stepping down with immediate effect to take the reins as the publisher of BDFM, a 50:50 joint venture between Avusa and Pearson in the UK.

Mr Bruce’s former deputy, Pearl Sebolao, becomes acting editor of Business Day.

"The job is effective immediately. The appointment will be reviewed in six months’ time. If it has not worked out I will come back to Business Day as editor … that’s the shareholders' prerogative," Mr Bruce said. "It’s really a great opportunity for Pearl."

Mr Bruce, who has been editor of Business Day since 2001, takes over as head of BDFM Publishers from Mzi Malunga, who left the company recently.

Ms Sebolao has been deputy editor since 2007. She joined the newspaper in 1996 and was previously managing editor.

"It’s a privilege to edit a newspaper such as Business Day with a strong heritage as well as the strongest journalists in the country. We have a good team," Ms Sebolao said.

"We are looking forward to exciting times. We have launched a new website. Our readers can look forward to an exciting digital offering over the next few months," she said.

"Business Day will remain a strong newspaper and will continue to set the agenda."

As the publisher of BDFM, Mr Bruce will oversee the business operations of Business Day, Financial Mail, which is edited by Barney Mthombothi, and Summit TV. He will be involved in circulation issues and drive the editorial strategy of the BDFM titles.

Mr Bruce said it was a tradition at BDFM that the publisher or MD was involved in supplementary publications, which were key to revenue.

However, he said the editors of Business Day and Financial Mail would not report to the BDFM publisher on the day-to-day content.

One of the issues that Mr Bruce will have to grapple with is the threat of the loss of advertising after the JSE recently announced new advertising rules for listed companies.

The JSE has previously required listed companies to publish announcements in the press. The changes would see companies publish only abridged announcements such as financial results.