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Morning of the long knives at the Mirror as new boss Grigson dumps editors Wallace and Weaver

A month ago we asked if anyone still needed Trinity Mirror, publisher of the Daily and Sunday Mirror, the (Sunday) People and a gaggle of regional titles. This was in the wake of Sly Bailey’s removal as CEO when shareholders jibbed at paying her £1.7m a year to run a company whose value had declined from about £1bn to just £74m in her ten-year tenure.

The question is even more relevant today as the struggling publisher has dispensed with the services of long-serving Daily editor Richard Wallace and Sunday editor Tina Weaver (both of whom have been there about 20 years) in a singularly graceless way.

Both were summoned to meet managing director Mark Hollinshead first thing this morning, told they were to be made redundant, handed their proposed settlements and then, in Wallace’s case, ushered out of the building by security guards. This is what happens in daft TV programmes about Wall Street and the City, not at a supposedly mature, left-leaning publisher.

And who is responsible for their defenestration? Well Hollinshead is more or less a Mirror lifer, who earned his spurs running its Scottish business, chiefly the Daily Record. He’s clearly an ambitious cove, angling for Bailey’s old job. The British newspaper industry is infested with pushy execs and editorial people who learned their trade in Scotland; not necessarily to its advantage.

Hollinshead came out with the usual corporate guff, which is too tiresome to repeat but you can read it here. Essentially he says the Mirror wants to switch to seven-day publishing (like the Sun). To that end he’s appointed People editor Lloyd Embley as editorial supremo and Lloyd is now looking for a Monday to Friday editor for the Mirror and a weekend editor for Saturday and the old Sunday Mirror.

Which is, of course, more or less what Wallace and Weaver were doing in the first place (bar Saturday in Weaver’s case). You couldn’t make it up, as Richard Littlejohn (who had the good sense not to work at the Mirror) would say. No word yet what will happen to the People, but no-one knows why it’s there in any case.

The other management genius behind this, seemingly its architect, is Trinity Mirror’s newly-appointed chairman David Grigson (left), an accountant who used to be CFO of Emap and Reuters. Reuters is still with us but Emap has been divided into three very small bits after failing to do anything much right since its acquisition by the Guardian Media Group and Apax. But if you want vision, hire an accountant.

The Daily Mirror used to be a very good paper (never quite as great as its befuddled supporters maintain) and did OK under Wallace despite the death of a thousand cuts instigated by Bailey.

The new lot might at least hasten its departure.

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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.
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