Digital head at South Africa's Tiso Blackstar Lisa MacLeod has been elected vice president of WAN-Ifra.
She and seven executives from leading news media companies were also elected to terms on the group's board during its 70th annual congress in Estoril, Portugal.
MacLeod, with president Michael Golden, Paul Verwilt (Mediahuis, Belgium) and David Callaway (The Street, USA) make up the new presidency.
Tiso Blackstar is Africa's largest English-language publisher and owner of eight newspapers, 15 websites, music, film and radio businesses. MacLeod is the former digital general manager of Media24's 24.com, a former head of operations for FT.com and managing editor of the Financial Times. Her election comes at a time when WAN-Ifra is implementing a new strategic plan for diversity and inclusion, designed to set goals to achieve gender balance in its operations and governance bodies by 2020.
Chief executive Vincent Peyrègne said he was "particularly pleased" with the increased diversity brought to the board with her election as first-ever female vice president: "It was time for us to act. Lisa MacLeod's election is the first significant outcome of our Strategic Plan and also takes place as we celebrated our 70th anniversary and presented the most gender-balanced congress in the history of the organsation.
"Our action plan goes deep into the organisation and the governance of WAN-Ifra. We have a lot more to achieve in the coming months."
The new board members are: Alexander Mitteräcker (publisher of Der Standard, Austria), Stoyana Georgieva (founder and editor in chief of online news site mediapool.bg, Bulgaria), Juan Guillermo Amaya Salcedo (chief executive of El Tiempo, Colombia), Fatemah Farag (chief executive of Welad Elbalad Media, Egypt), Shailesh Gupta (chief executive of Jagran Prakashan, India), Karin Pettersson (director of public policy, Schibsted, Sweden) and Yildirim Demiroren (chief executive of Demiroren Holding, Turkey).
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