Kenneth Ashigbey expresses gratitude to NMC

Accra, Mr Kenneth Ashigbey, Managing Director, Graphic Communications Group Limited (GCGL), on Monday expressed gratitude to the National Media Commission (NMC) for giving him the opportunity to serve the Company and mother Ghana.

I wish to wholeheartedly thank the National Media Commission for the opportunity it gave me to serve my country in this noble capacity of managing one of the most reputable media house in West Africa, Mr Ashigbey stated at the induction of the new Board of the GCGL in Accra.

The nine member Board is under the Chairmanship of Professor Kwame Karikari, a Journalism and Communications Expert, and the founding Executive Director of the Media Foundation for West Africa.

Other members of the Board include Mr Ashigbey, Ms Ajoa Yeboa Afari, Chairperson, Editors’ Forum of Ghana; Mr Osei Afriyie, Dr Rita Larsen-Reindorf, Nana Otuo Acheampong, Dr Mawuli Adjei, Mr Mohammed Yusuf Twumasi and Mr Bismarck Emmanuel Badu.

Nana Kwesi Gyan-Apenteng, Chairman, NMC, administered the Oath of Office to the new Board; however, Mr Osei Afriyie was not available to part take in the induction ceremony.

Mr Ashigbey said: I have enjoyed every minute of the journey with Graphic and the NMC. I believe no one here is in doubt why I am thanking the NMC, as it is known that I leave the company only two days after this inaugural ceremony.

I guess this is the shortest stint as a member of any board, serving for only two days. I intend to serve it to the best of my abilities as I have done on previous occasions.

To the new Board, Mr Ashigbey said: You come in at a time when global print media is facing the challenge of decline as a result of changing media consumption, the digital and social media onslaught.

This challenge is even more pronounced in our country, where reading culture is poor and our laws allow the bastardization of newspaper content with radio and Television Stations virtually reading all newspaper contents on sponsored programmes, he added.

He said additionally media houses copy the content from newspapers and produce them online without even offering back link credits.

He said this calls for creativity to confront this challenge frontally in order to keep the company running; declaring that, We have taken some steps in this direction.

He said the strategy as approved by the Board, was to stabilize and reverse the decline in their core business, newspaper and adverts sales whiles aggressively diversifying the company’s portfolio with high growth rates.

He said the 2016 audited accounts of Graphic saw it posting a profit before tax of GH?922,150.00 and earnings per share of 0.2662, a growth of 174 per cent over 2015 figures.

He said additionally, for the first time in the history of the Company, after the legal separation, G-PAK was able to convert its negative income surplus into positive due to increased sales and better cost management’.

Quoting the External Auditors O.A.K Chartered Accountants, Mr Ashigbey said: There are a lot of opportunities for G-Pak and I urge the new Board to pay special attention to building its capacity and allowing it to fly with a lot more autonomy.

We have set up the Graphic Print Supplies to supply all print related materials, alongside this we have the Graphic Courier Service, which relies on our already existing capacity to bring additional revenue.

We are in the process of signing an MOU with Mega Choice Network to start the Graphic TV project and that should be pursued, he said.

He said the conversion of the Graphic Clinic to offer Laboratory and Pharmaceutical services to the public for profit had been planned; adding that, the conversion of some of the landed properties into multi user accommodation, had also been planned.

He said there was a paper to set-up the Graphic School of Excellence, to start training manpower, not only to feed Graphic, but the industry at large, starting with Editorial and Printing staff.

He explained that all of these need a vigorous push to realize their full potential to cushion the Company from turbulence that the print industry was currently experiencing.

Nana Gyan-Apenteng said in a couple of days, the Managing Director of GCGL, Mr Ashigbey would leave because he had chosen to retire with some years of his contract still remaining.

I tried to persuade him to stay.I had refused to accept his letter for a number of days. But you cannot employ a person against his or her will, so sadly we have to say goodbye to Ken. We wish him well, the NMC Chairman said.

Prof Karikari lauded the stability of the GCGL as compared to other public service organisations, and appealed to the management and staff of the Company for their cooperation with the Board to enable them to deliver on their mandate.

Prof Omane Antwi, the former Board Chairman, GCGL, said one of the challenges facing the Company was the huge indebtedness of metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies, in terms of newspapers supplied to them and their placement of adverts in the newspapers.

He recommended to the new board to pursue an aggressive Digital Media Strategy, which would ensure engagements of the youth and attain market leadership in audience share within the digital media space with profitable business model.

Source: Ghana News Agency