Frontrunners for £2 Million-a-Year MailOnline Editorship

Lord Rothermere’s party at Claridge’s to celebrate 125 years of the Daily Mail, scheduled for next week, has been cancelled. So the opportunity for a lot of Mail intrigue and gossiping has been lost. Guido will make up for the cancellation by focusing on the subject of their greatest interest…

The most sought-after job in the British media is up for grabs with the announcement that Martin Clarke is leaving his creation MailOnline, where he is authoritatively rumoured to be on £2 million-a-year. According to Guido’s sources, it was Lord Rothermere’s intention to take DMG private that sparked Martin Clarke’s decision to move on. Clarke believes – not without reason – that if he had created a start-up media title as successful as MailOnline he would have made tens of millions; the billion dollar sale of Politico highlights the value of digital-native success stories. For Clarke, a private, unlisted DMG means no lucrative share options and the mere status of a very well-paid employee. Those few millions were not enough…

Clarke’s decision to go triggered consequential events at Britain’s most successful newspaper title. Rothermere realised he would now be in need of a replacement consigliere, so he decided to summon Paul Dacre back for that role. The promotion of Richard Caccappolo to become chief executive of the company’s media business was not significant in the firing of Geordie Grieg, contrary to reports elsewhere. Dacre demanded the ousting of his long-term enemy Grieg as the price of his return.

With Dacre back at the heart of the Mail group and Ted Verity in combined control of both the Mail on Sunday and Daily Mail titles, they will operate as an integrated operation. The remaining question of the leadership of MailOnline behemoth has to be resolved by next year when Clarke leaves. Guido brings you the runners and riders for the job:

  • Keith Poole, currently Editor-in-Chief of the New York Post, is a former Deputy Editor-in-Chief of The Sun who oversaw the digital edition. He also previously worked at the Daily Mail for over a decade, including as Managing Editor of Mail Online in New York, from 2011 to 2016. He is a strong candidate.
  • Chris Evans, currently editor of The Telegraph, is said to be interested – the money would be a raise. He did 11 years at the Daily Mail meaning it would be a return. He has taken the Telegraph journalistically in the direction of the Mail, and might have the right touch for MailOnline.
  • Gerard Greaves was deputy to Geordie at the Daily Mail and still, unaccountably, not fired by Ted Verity. Verity would be glad to get rid of him, though probably doesn’t want him to create a new power base at MailOnline. Also, Dacre loathes him and used to humiliate him in public when he was in charge. He was also previously the Mail on Sunday’s Deputy Editor.
  • Danny Groom is MailOnline’s long-suffering News Editor. He’s popular in-house, but has never actually run anything. Lots of experience of Martin Clarke bawling at him may, however, give him the management template to run the title in the style it has been run hitherto.
  • Tony Gallagher is currently Deputy Editor of The Times, waiting to step into the shoes of the Editor John Witherow, who turns 70 next month. He was the Editor at the Daily Telegraph who oversaw the MPs’ expense scandal reporting and was Deputy Editor of the Daily Mail before being appointed as editor-in-chief of The Sun. It should not be forgotten that he worked on the launch of MailOnline at the beginning with Martin Clarke.
  • Matt Chorley made his name as a political reporter at MailOnline by stealing stories from Guido unattributed and claiming them as “exclusives”. Currently doing a “comedy show” for Times Radio. He can dream.

Whoever gets the job will oversee one of the most-read publications in the free world…

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