Head of sport for the Mail titles, Lee Clayton, is leaving to head up radio station Talksport.
Clayton, who has been at the Mail for 14 years, is the latest hire for Talksport owner Wireless Group, part of News UK, which also welcomed Matthew Wright to sister station Talkradio this week.
Clayton has overseen sports coverage for the Daily Mail, Mail on Sunday and Mail Online since the titles’ sports desks were merged in 2014. He is also sports editor for the daily newspaper.
Prior to joining the Mail, Clayton spent three years presenting a Sunday morning breakfast show on Talksport while sports editor at the Sunday People.
His colleagues at the Mail are understood to have only this week learned of his resignation, although it was tended late last month.
A source at Associated Newspapers said news of his departure “came out of the blue”, adding: “It’s a big surprise and there is a degree of trepidation and intrigue about who is going to replace him.”
This week is also the first with Geordie Greig behind the editor’s desk at the Daily Mail. Clayton and Greig worked together following the sports desk merger, when Greig was Mail on Sunday editor.
Clayton, who has been a journalist for 30 years, told Press Gazette: “After 14 years at the Mail this fantastic opportunity was presented to me.
“I’m incredibly excited about it. Talksport has always had a place in my heart so now to have the chance to run it is a dream come true.”
Wireless Group chief executive Scott Taunton said: “Lee brings with him a wealth of sporting knowledge and content and I was particularly struck by his passion for both radio and publishing – a key factor for us and our editorial colleagues at The Sun, The Times, and The Sunday Times.
“I am simply delighted to have someone of his calibre on board.”