My disclosure that Tony Gallagher had lunched with Daily Mail boss Lord Rothermere at Scott’s restaurant in London would appear to have spurred Rupert Murdoch into action: Gallagher was last week promoted from deputy editor of the Times to editor. As I predicted, John Witherow, the incumbent editor and sometime tennis partner of Rachel Johnson, was given a grandee – but largely ceremonial – role chairing Times newspapers.
An executive on the Times told me the stories about the former minister Michael Gove being parachuted in to the editorship of the Times caused “no end of chortling” on the paper. He said it was but the latest in a series of high-powered political and media jobs Gove has been associated with over the years, but which appear always to come from “the same rather sad source”.
If Rothermere had formally offered Gallagher the editorship of the Daily Mail, it’s little wonder the job didn’t appeal. Ted Verity, the paper’s present editor, has just had to send a note, co-signed by Danny Groom, the MailOnline chief, informing staff that the company wants to put an end to any “unnecessary duplication” between their digital and print offerings, which will clearly mean redundancies.
“What no one appears to have thought through is that what we do online – lifting stories from all over the place and serving them up in as vulgar a way as possible – is very different to what we do in print,” one disgruntled Mail (print) hack tells me. “The departure last month of Paul Zwillenberg as chief executive means it’s pretty much Rothermere alone up on the bridge now, and, as the letter we all got stated, there are ‘serious headwinds’ ahead. God help us.”