Media Perspective: With the promotion of Guy Zitter, DMGT is weirdly playing safe

The appointment of Guy Zitter, the managing director of the Daily Mail, to the new role of managing director of Mail Newspapers, overseeing both the Daily Mail and The Mail on Sunday, seems a popular one across the industry. After all, there's a lot of "better the devil you know"-type sentiment around right now.

And who can blame anybody for this? It's 27 years since the former Seychelles-based nightclub owner jacked in the entertainment business to fly to London to help launch The Mail on Sunday's ad operation and there have been thousands of colourful lunches and dozens of ski-trips during the intervening years.

Since Stephen Miron, a man with a stunning track record of promoting The Mail on Sunday to new levels, announced he was leaving for Global Radio in August, every man and his dog has been mentioned in association with the vacant job at The Mail on Sunday, from rival newspaper ad directors to internal candidates such as Andrew Mullins, the managing director of the Evening Standard, and Linda Grant, the group marketing director. In opting for an enlarged role for Zitter, and for the first time the combining of the Daily Mail and The Mail on Sunday commercial teams under the group ad director, John Teal, Mail Newspapers is ensuring continuity at a difficult time and it will allow Zitter to properly review its commercial strategy going forward.

Zitter and his team can now go to the market with more clout as a trading operation, having had years of agencies playing off the Daily Mail and The Mail on Sunday against one another. There may also be more value to be had in offering agencies cross-media solutions and more joined-up thinking on the digital sides of the businesses, not to mention big savings on cutting back numbers from the combined sales operations and back office.

So, oddly enough, given Zitter's reputation as a brilliant and combustible talent (not to mention a great survivor who looks like he could go on for a few more years yet), this move is being viewed in the market as a solid one, one motivated by delivering increased revenues alongside cost savings, but that won't rock the boat in the short term both within or outside its parent company Daily Mail & General Trust's recently merged newspaper division A&N Media.

Zitter, in turn, has stuck with his own lieutenant in promoting Teal to the group advertising role ahead of The Mail on Sunday ad director, Simon Davies, thus ensuring another line of continuity. As time goes on, though, it will be interesting to see how proactive, even aggressive, the newly merged Mail operation becomes in the market. It wouldn't be beyond Zitter to throw a few surprise moves out to the industry.

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