Paul Dacre is back at the Daily Mail after he was appointed editor-in-chief of the parent company’s consumer media titles, in the latest upheaval at the publisher of the UK’s biggest-selling daily newspaper.
The tabloid executive is assuming the position just days after he said he had pulled out of the running to chair Ofcom, amid claims that prime minister Boris Johnson had sought to manipulate the process to install him at the UK media regulator.
While the job will not involve day-to-day editing, Dacre will take an “active role” providing counsel to both the Mail’s newly appointed editor Ted Verity and the group’s executive chair Jonathan Harmsworth, Viscount Rothermere.
His appointment follows the abrupt departure last week of the Mail’s editor of three years Geordie Greig and other management changes that have elevated the status of Dacre acolytes.
Taken together, the changes show Dacre will have enduring influence over the newspaper, which he edited for 26 years.
Dacre had stayed on in a largely honorary position after he stepped down in 2018. Daily Mail and General Trust’s annual report last week showed he is set to collect share awards next month worth £1.84m, based on the London-listed company’s current share price.
However, his power had been constrained by rival Greig, who had adopted a less strident tone at the right-leaning title. Dacre once accused Greig of being “economic” with the truth when he claimed advertisers had welcomed the softer editorial approach.
Dacre had been Johnson’s favoured candidate for the position at Ofcom, but some senior Tories said recent criticism of the prime minister over supposed “sleaze” had made the prospective appointment even more contentious.
The culture and media department said the recruitment process was “fair and open”.
In withdrawing his candidacy, Dacre complained last week that the public appointments process was flawed and the civil service biased against private sector candidates.
Dacre had been about to leave DMGT altogether but on Monday the company said he had been appointed editor-in-chief of dmg media, whose portfolio includes Metro, the i and New Scientist as well as the Mail titles.
Verity, editor of the Mail on Sunday, is close to Dacre and has taken charge of both the daily and Sunday publications. So too is Martin Clarke, who runs MailOnline and who insiders said had been a main beneficiary of Greig’s exit.
Harmsworth, a descendent of the Mail’s founder, said in a statement: “I am delighted to appoint Paul Dacre, who has a huge and distinguished history with this company.”
Clarke said: “Nobody has done more to make the Mail titles what they are today than Paul Dacre and I am honoured to be working with him.”
The management changes at the flagship title come as the Rothermere family seeks to take DMGT private. This month they tabled a formal offer that would bring to an end the company’s 90-year run on the stock market.
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