Tony Fitzpatrick has stepped down as chief executive of Health Media Group PLC, the leading UK online health content firm, following the release of a trading statement last week which said revenue will be below market expectations for the full year resulting in an operating loss.

The company said the shortfall is the result of a number of key contracts, scheduled to be won in the second half, being delayed or not materialising as originally anticipated.

Interim results report a turnover of £1.2m for the six months ending August 2001. In July Health Media Group was listed on the Alternative Investment Market through a reverse takeover of Internet Direct Plc and is currently capitalised at £8m.

Andrew Brode, chairman of Health Media, commented: "Following our AIM listing in August and the successful integration of our many acquisitions, we believe we have now created a resilient business model driven by the need for improved communications in healthcare."

In the light of the lower-than-anticipated level of sales, a detailed operational review is underway to reduce costs in line with anticipated revenues. As a part of this operational restructuring it said Tony Fitzpatrick, chief executive stepped down.

With immediate effect Gavin Kaye, who will also continue his duties as Finance Director, has been appointed Chief Executive in his place.

In its statement the board said it remained highly confident about the opportunities available to the company in the future. In particular, the Government’s increasing commitment to improving communications within the NHS is already beginning to lead to exciting new opportunities.