The editor of the Sunday Mirror and Sunday People is stepping down as part of publisher Reach’s major restructure and business transformation.
“Fleet Street legend” Paul Henderson became editor of the two Sunday titles in February as part of his role as deputy to editor-in-chief Alison Phillips when they became a seven-day operation alongside the Daily Mirror.
Henderson, who has been a senior member of the Mirror editorial team for a decade, decided to leave in spring 2021 as part of the business transformation plan announced in July but his departure was only revealed on Friday.
Henderson said: “Editing The Sunday Mirror and the Sunday People has been a fantastic privilege.
“After this, I am looking forward to new opportunities and challenges.”
His role is not being replaced but there will remain three deputies working to support Phillips across the three national titles: Tom Carlin, Gemma Aldridge and Paul Cockerton.
Phillips said: “Paul has a wealth of experience, knowledge and passion for the job which I’d say is unmatched anywhere in the industry.
“He has helped guide so many great stories and campaigns into the papers and as editor of the Sunday Mirror and Sunday People, Paul has led his team to create truly outstanding papers – particularly during the current crisis.”
Henderson’s previous roles at the Mirror included his appointment in 2016 as executive editor (seven days), which saw him edit the Sundays when now-Daily Express editor Gary Jones was away.
Henderson has also spent time as investigations editor and news editor at the Mail on Sunday and as chief investigative reporter and executive news editor at the Daily Mail, as well as a period in the US with news agency Stateside News before joining the Mirror.
Reach editor-in-chief Lloyd Embley said: “On a personal and professional level I will miss Paul’s presence in the newsroom (real or virtual) enormously. He joined us as a Fleet Street legend and will leave as a Mirror one.
“Paul has been an inspirational mentor and guide for reporters and feature writers and I would like to extend our thanks to him for helping to develop and encourage so many colleagues in their careers. He has been a huge support for the entire team, and a true friend to me.”
In February the Daily Mirror, Sunday Mirror and Sunday People moved to a joint seven-day operation, a move which Embley said was necessary because of falling print circulations and the resultant need to work as efficiently as possible to protect the resources needed to break big stories and run campaigns.
Five months later, after the peak of the Covid-19 crisis, Reach staff were told of plans for a more centralised structure for editorial “bringing together national and regional teams across print and digital to remove duplication while maintaining the strong identity of our news brands”.
Reach said in July the project to create one editorial team across Reach’s nationals, regionals, Scotland and Ireland would be headed up by Phillips, Express editor Gary Jones, Star editor Jon Clark, chief audience officer David Higgerson and head of magazines and supplements Caroline Waterston.
New teams included an advance features unit, created from the nationals’ back of book print teams and regionals’ shared content unit, producing content all Reach brands can use, and an internal news wire.
The restructure put 550 jobs at risk and several prominent regional editors subsequently left, including the Liverpool Echo’s Ali Machray, Bristol Post’s Mike Norton, Daily Post’s Andrew Campbell, Stoke Sentinel’s Martin Tideswell and Leicester Mercury’s George Oliver.