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November 18, 2014

Trinity Mirror ‘streamlining’ sees axe fall on Journal’s Brian Aitken, Eugene Duffy at Mirror and group legal chief Paul Vickers

By William Turvill

  • Lloyd Embley made 'group editor-in-chief'
  • Regional editorial director Neil Benson now reports in to Embley
  • 'General manager' appointed with duties including 'editorial management'
  • Brian Aitken, Eugene Duffy and Paul Vickers among departures

Trinity Mirror has announced the departure of the Newcastle Journal editor as well as its group managing editor and group legal director.

The moves come as part of a "streamlining" exercise that will see Mirror nationals editor Lloyd Embley become "group editor-in-chief" and take on editorial responsibility across all titles outside of Scotland.

Brian Aitken has edited the North East title since 2003 and was previously editorial development manager at Trinity Mirror Regionals in Liverpool.

In March, it was announced that he would be moving to the new role of regional business director at Trinity Mirror North East and would be responsible for "driving new enterprise revenue streams".

But in an email to staff, chief executive Simon Fox has said Aitken – along with North East managing director Russell Borthwick and Teesside general manager Brian Green – is to leave the business.

In addition, it was announced that group managing editor Eugene Duffy, who started shifting as a reporter for the Daily Mirror in 1986, is leaving. He was made news editor of the paper in 1996 and then after a spell as associate editor moved to his current position ten years ago.

Paul Vickers, secretary and group legal director, is also to leave the company, which he joined in 1992. Fox, who said he had been on the Trinity Mirror board since 1999, said: “I would like to thank Paul for his tremendous service to the company, the board and the wider media industry. Paul leaves us in mid-January."

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Vickers is currently also head of the Regulatory Funding Company which funds the Independent Press Standards Organisation.

Duffy and Vickers join Mark Hollinshead in leaving the company. The chief operating officer announced his departure after 17 years in August.

All regional editorial teams will now report in to regional editorial director Neil Benson who in turn reports directly to Embley.

Paula Scott, publishing director for the nationals, will also see her role extended to cover the regional titles.

The moves come after Trinity Mirror announced on Friday the closure of seven regional newspapers, with 50 jobs expected to go. These include long established titles such as the Reading Post, Surrey Herald and Harrow Observer.

Fox said in an email to staff, seen by Press Gazette: “This structure is designed to streamline decision making, accelerate the growth of our digital audiences and reinforce the ‘One Trinity Mirror’ way of working and exchange of best practice. Ultimately, this move will benefit our journalism right across the group.”

The shake-up will also see group newspaper sales and marketing director Neil Jagger become “General Manager MGN”, which will include “editorial management”.

Fox said: “Neil retains his group newspaper sales accountability but in addition he takes on direct responsibility for the cost base of our national brands, including editorial management and for the commercial performance of Ireland.”

Deputy managing editor Aidan McGurran has been promoted to managing editor, reporting to Jagger. Joanne McGreevy, managing director in Ireland, will also report to Jagger, while, editor-in-chief John Kierans will continue to report to Embley.

He also laid out a new “regional commercial structure”. Simon Edgley is managing director of the Midlands and acting managing director in the South, Paul O’Halloran is managing director of the Manchester Evening News and in Huddersfieeld, Carl Wood is managing director in the North West, and Alan Admunds is managing director in Cardiff. Full-time managing directors for the South, Newcastle and Middlesbrough are to be decided.

In marketing and “new business development”, current “group transformation director” Rupert Howell has been renamed group development director and will be reported to be Zoe Harris, group marketing director, and Matt Colebourne, new product development director.

Under the headline “Support Functions”, Fox said that Mark Mountford has been appointed financial director of national operations, Andy McGreevy financial director regionals and Mark Ashman financial director for Media Scotland.

Fox added under “Going Forward”: “Lloyd Embley, Allan Rennie, Steve Anderson-Dixon and Neil Jagger all have new reporting lines directly to me. 

“I would like to thank those leaving the business for all their support over the years and congratulate those taking on new responsibilities.

“In summary, I am confident that this new streamlined structure will enable our editorial teams to focus on delivering great content across multiple platforms and our commercial teams to be fully focused on delivering market beating revenue performance across our print and digital platforms.”

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