Telegraph’s Will Lewis loses turf war with CEO Murdoch MacLennan

Telegraph CEO Murdoch MacLennan came from Associated Newspapers, publisher of the Daily Mail, where the so-called managers are treated like servants on speed, lackeys to service the desires of the hacks.

But in his new role as CEO of Telegraph Media Group, publisher of the Daily and Sunday Telegraph in London, he was always likely to desire a bit more traction.

And he seems to have got it with the departure of Telegraph editor in chief and managing director of digital stuff Will Lewis.

Boy wonder Lewis, who went from the Financial Times to be editor of the Sunday Times Business News at about 30, has overseen the transmogrification of the most traditional of London newspapers into an entity that blogs and videos itself relentlessly. Although whether or not this added to the Telegraph company’s revenues as opposed to adding to its costs is unknown.

The big argument with MacLennan is supposed to be over something called Euston Partners, Lewis’ desire to set up his digital empire well way from the papers’ HQ in Victoria (where MacLennan resides).

Lewis is a bolshie so and so and one of his biggest mistakes at the Telegraph was to fall out with Patience Wheatcroft, the well-respected editor of the Sunday Telegraph. Wheatcroft, who doesn’t take nonsense from anyone, objected to his plans to make the ST an add-on to the Daily, without its own foreign staff, and stunned the organisation by resigning. She’s now editor in chief of European edition of the Wall Street Journal, a big threat to the Telegraph’s financial audience.

The Telegraph’s owners, the Barclay brothers, would have been immensely peeved by Patience’s departure.

Having said that, all this still seems a bit rough on Lewis.

But with the advertising market recovering who needs all those digital bits anyway?

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.