By Staff writer
Spokesperson for International Media Investments said the newspaper has been undergoing a new "digital transformation", which is expected to be completed in mid-2017
A "large number of jobs" have been lost at the Abu Dhabi-based newspaper, The National, it was reported on Monday.
The Media Network tweeted about a "huge shake-up" at the newspaper, without giving specific details about the number of jobs axed although about a quarter of staff are thought to have been affected.
The reported job cuts comes about five months after state-owned Abu Dhabi Media Company (ADM) sold the English-language newspaper to International Media Investments (IMI), a subsidiary of private investment firm Abu Dhabi Media Investment Corporation (ADMIC).
It is understood that staff received their new contracts on Sunday. Those that were not going to be hired by the new company will have jobs until June 30, when the ADM contracts expire.
Staff must work a six-month probation period at the new company while sources suggest some salaries were cut for people who will be doing the same job that they did for ADM.
ADMIC was set up in 2010 as a special purpose vehicle for a partnership with broadcaster BSkyB to launch the Sky News Arabia channel from Abu Dhabi. It is owned by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the UAE’s deputy prime minister.
A spokesperson for IMI told AFP that the newspaper has been undergoing a new "digital transformation", which is expected to be completed in mid-2017.
"As part of this transition, over the past few months, IMI has finalised its new vision for The National, supported by a robust editorial strategy to ensure that The National fulfils its potential as a premier English language source of news about and for the Middle East," the spokesperson said.
"It is embarking on a digital transformation, while retaining its print product. As part of this transformation, The National is putting together its team, made of existing and new talent.
"IMI prioritised The National's existing staff as it seeks to hire for additional newsroom needs."
Sources close to the process said the post of chief editor could go to Mina Al-Oraibi, the former assistant editor of Saudi newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat.