The shock departure of Kelvin MacKenzie from Mirror Group this week
has been met with dismay by advertising and media agencies.
MacKenzie, the deputy chief executive of Mirror Group, resigned on
Monday to head a consortium bidding for the UK radio station, Talk
Radio. It emerged on Tuesday that News International, MacKenzie’s former
employer during his time as editor of the Sun and Mirror Group’s
arch-rival, was backing MacKenzie’s bid.
Industry sources suggest that Rupert Murdoch, owner of News
International, was anxious to support anything MacKenzie did, as long as
it lured him away from the Mirror. MacKenzie leaves Mirror Group six
just months into his tenure.
During that time - in which MacKenzie assisted the Mirror’s editor Piers
Morgan - the Mirror showed signs of recovery, increasing its circulation
in the three months to March before a seasonal dip in April to
Laura James, head of press at New PHD, said: ’From both an agency’s and
an advertiser’s perspective, for the first time in a long while it felt
as if the Mirror had some direction and a real editorial
MacKenzie will be a loss. It’s the first time in a while that the Sun
has appeared vulnerable.’
Mirror Group’s share price dipped just 0.5p following the announcement,
with City analysts confident that MacKenzie had already established a
long-term recovery plan for the newspapers.
Lorna Tilbian, an analyst at Panmure Gordon, said: ’MacKenzie was in
place for six months and within that time imbued the Mirror with a new
sense of direction.
’He was instrumental in turning around the core future of the company
but it’s now in play.’
A Mirror Group spokesman said no replacement would be sought for
MacKenzie, whose post had been specifically created.