Jeremy Dear today fired the starting gun on the first National Union of Journalists leadership race for a decade by revealing that he is to stand down as general secretary.
Dear, one of two people in the union’s hundred-year history to serve two terms as general secretary, will stand down before the end of the year.
He said today he had only ever intended to serve two terms in office.
Dear, was elected as the union’s youngest ever leader in 2001, is expected to step down in the summer once a successor has been appointed.
Press Gazette understands that Dear does not have another job lined up – and that he is not planning to run for the vacant of International Federation of Journalists general secretary position.
Dear served as president of the NUJ and national organiser for newspapers before becoming general secretary. He rose to prominence as a trade unionist leading an 11-month strike in protest at de-recognition of the NUJ at the Essex Chronicle.
He said: “It was the proudest moment of my life being elected general secretary and I have been honoured to have had the opportunity to serve our union at every level over many years.
“Throughout all my years as a lay activist or a full time official I have never failed to be inspired by the spirit of the NUJ members and their continued commitment to fight for social and economic justice.
“My deep thanks go to all those – staff, reps and members – who do so much to make the NUJ the fantastic union it is and whose friendship and solidarity I have been fortunate to share over the years.”
Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ deputy general secretary, said: “Jeremy’s passion and dedication to the union he loves, his unrivalled commitment to trade unionism and his sheer energy have made him a general secretary the NUJ can be truly proud of.
“Jeremy is leaving the union in fighting shape ready and able to carry forward his work and legacy as the voice for journalists and journalism throughout the UK and Ireland.
“As his deputy over the last three years, and as an activist before that, I’ve been privileged to work with an outstanding general secretary who will be much missed.”
Press Gazette understands that if Stanistreet decides to run as NUJ leader Dear would be likely to back her. She would be the first female leader in the history of the union.
The salary for the job is £63,481 and the closing date for applications is 6 April. Voting will take place from 22 April to 26 May.