Media Lifeline: Appointments at the Telegraph

Hiring a new chief executive triggered a series of staff changes at the broadsheet

AUGUST 2004...

Taking over the Telegraph Group in June, the Barclay brothers move quickly to appoint a chief executive to succeed Jeremy Deedes. Murdoch MacLennan, 55 (pictured), is picked. He was poached from Associated Newspapers, where he was the managing director.

OCTOBER 2005...

MacLennan (who didn't enjoy such wide-ranging powers at Associated) takes his time to make his mark on the editorial side. In the summer of 2005, he organises several hunting parties to trawl for talent at his former employers. Jon Steafal, the Daily Mail's deputy editor, declines a similar position on the Telegraph; but the political correspondent, James Chapman, is happy to take the MacLennan shilling.

NOVEMBER 2005...

But when MacLennan nets his first senior coup, the results are explosive and controversial - his hiring of John Bryant, the consultant editor on the Daily Mail, as the Telegraph Group editor-in-chief triggers the resignation of Martin Newland, the editor since 2003 of what is now becoming known as The Maily Telegraph.

DECEMBER 2005...

Bryant and MacLennan continue to loiter suspiciously outside the staff entrance at Associated Newspapers - this time, they bag a huge trophy, when Simon Heffer, the Daily Mail's vitriolic, Little Englander ideologue, agrees to become The Telegraph's star columnist. The Scottish-born MacLennan is said to derive masochistic pleasure from Heffer's intemperate anti-Caledonian tirades.


A fragile truce lasts a few months, but when it breaks, the traffic for the first time is two-way. The former Telegraph deputy editor, Neil Darbyshire, who had been edged out in the summer, joins the Daily Mail; while Tony Gallagher heads the other way to become the executive editor of news. This followed the news about Sarah Sands, the former editor of The Sunday Telegraph, joining the Daily Mail.


November 2007 Chaos ensues when the Mail's Paul Dacre (pictured) leaves to become the cross-platform editorial content supremo at the Telegraph Group.The owners of the papers agree The Telegraph should be created from the Mail's offices and vice versa.


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