Wapping crisis claims another casualty

Rupert Murdoch, the media magnate, wrapped up a busy week at his Wapping headquarters by letting go John Dux, managing director of News International - the latest casualty, in part, of an embarrassing and potentially costly newsprint shortage at the publisher.

Mr Dux, a long-time Murdoch loyalist, worked with Mr Murdoch in Australia and was editor of the South China Morning Post. He was made managing director in 1990. The company said he was leaving "by mutual consent and with immediate effect." His deputy, Douglas Flynn, an Australian, has been named to replace him. In what is believed to be a unrelated development, Tim Ovington, personnel director, is also leaving the group.

The departures followed the announcement earlier this week that Gus Fischer, chief executive of News International, would be replaced by a long-time Murdoch associate, a fellow Australian, Bill O'Neill.

The bloodbath was reminiscent of past visits by Mr Murdoch to his many operations. He is renowned for whirlwind visits to outposts on his empire, which sometimes lead to managment shakeups. Mr Murdoch left London yesterday, following a week spent reviewing budgets.

The clearing of senior executives was apparently triggered by a short- term shortage of newsprint. "The newsprint crisis has finally hit home," a senior editor at News International said last night. A company spokesman said last night that News International was experiencing an "unexpected, short-term shortage of newsprint. But we are comfortable with our supply arrangements."

The company has less 45-gram newsprint than it needs, and will have to cut pages and lower print runs over the next two to three weeks in order to restore balance in the supply.

It is thought that Mr Dux had held out for better terms from newsprint suppliers until it was too late to secure backup supplies from other wholesalers or the spot market. One newspaper executive said that "there is absolutely nothing on the market, at any price."

The Sun's sales manager, Ian Jackson, contacted wholesalers on Thursday to announce a 2 per cent cut in supplies of the Sun. Similar reductions in the supply of other titles are likely in coming weeks.

Sources indicated yesterday that the Sunday Times this weekend will be cut by two pages, the largest cut possible given that the ads had already been sold. Next weekend, the paper will shrink by eight pages, with most of the cuts coming in the books section.

At News International's sister publications the Sun and Today, it is thought the weekly women's section inserts would be cut altogether for at least one week.

The company's various sales forces were said last night to be turning advertisers away.

The price of newsprint, now about £450 a tonne, is climbing toward a cyclical high, with further increases of as much as 15-20 per cent still to come. News International spends about £200m a year on newsprint. Large purchasers of the product can normally lock in supply through forward buying. But as markets tighten, negotiating price and amounts become more difficult.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Sport
ESPN footage showed a split-screen Murray’s partner Kim Sears and Berdych’s partner Ester Satorova 'sporting' their jewellery
tennis
Arts and Entertainment
Cold case: Aaron McCusker and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvReview: Sky Atlantic's ambitious new series Fortitude has begun with a feature-length special
Voices
Three people wearing masks depicting Ed Miliband, David Cameron and Nick Clegg
voicesPolitics is in the gutter – but there is an alternative, says Nigel Farage
Voices
The veterans Mark Hayward, Hugh Thompson and Sean Staines (back) with Grayson Perry (front left) and Evgeny Lebedev
charity appealMaverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
News
i100
News
people
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Sport
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho
footballThe more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Life and Style
Vote green: Benoit Berenger at The Duke of Cambridge in London's Islington
food + drinkBanishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turn over a new leaf
News
Joel Grey (left) poses next to a poster featuring his character in the film
peopleActor Joel Grey comes out at 82
News
i100
News
business
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Compliance Assistant

£13000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Pension Specialist was established ...

Ashdown Group: Market Research Executive

£23000 - £26000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Market Research Executive...

Recruitment Genius: Technical Report Writer

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Technical Report Writer is re...

MBDA UK Ltd: Indirect Procurement Category Manager

Competitive salary & benefits!: MBDA UK Ltd: MBDA UK LTD Indirect Procurement...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee