The business on...David Montgomery, Ex-chief executive, Mecom

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The Independent Online

Ex-chief executive?

Yes, Mr Montgomery left the newspaper publisher yesterday – "with immediate effect" as Mecom put it.

What, no glowing tributes?

Nope, just a terse, one-line statement to the market. Still, maybe that's understandable – Mr Montgomery's departure has been a bit of a saga.

Tell us more.

Back in September, he fell victim to a shareholder rebellion – three big Mecom investors demanded he quit. Mr Montgomery agreed to do so by the end of this month, but there has been speculation in recent weeks that he might, after all, stay on. Mecom's performance improved in the final quarter and the company has made no progress finding a replacement. Then, at a boardmeeting on Wednesday, several shareholders put their feet down, insisting Mr Montgomery had to go. Yesterday, he did so.

It all sounds very brutal. Didn't he found the company?

Indeed, back in 2000. But he floated it in 2005 and stock market investors are an unsentimental bunch. They say the company has really struggled over the past three years and that Mr Montgomery has not seemed able to turn it around.

Well, let's hope his friends rally round at this difficult time.

Hmm. It's fair to say that Mr Montgomery is not the most popular man in newspapers. He began as a sub-editor, ultimately became editor of News of the World, and then moved into management, first at Today, then owned by Rupert Murdoch, then at Mirror Group. His strategy often seemed to consist only of radical cost-cutting plans, which did not endear him to journalists.

Poacher turned gamekeeper?

Sort of, though even before moving into the boardroom, Montgomery ruffled feathers. Staff at News of the World nicknamed him "Rommel" – because "Monty was on our side".

Will he be back?

Probably. Mr Montgomery's career has been a rollercoaster – there will be more ups to follow this down.

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