Alan Rusbridger, who has announced that he is stepping down as editor-in-chief of The Guardian after 20 years, is expected to take up a new role in academia.
He is set to follow the example of a series of other leading media figures and take a role as head of an Oxbridge college. Mr Rusbridger is expected to be announced in the new year as successor to Dr Frances Lannon, who is standing down as principal of Lady Margaret Hall, at the University of Oxford, in September.
Will Hutton, a former editor-in-chief of The Observer, is principal of Hertford College, Oxford. Mark Damazer, the former controller of BBC Radio 4 is master of St Peter’s College, Oxford. Roger Mosey, who oversaw the BBC’s coverage of the 2012 Olympics, is master of Selwyn College, Cambridge.
Following a story by The Independent yesterday, staff at The Guardian were informed of Mr Rusbridger’s intention to move on in the middle of the summer.
But the news that he will become chair of the Scott Trust, the body which exists to ensure the title continues “in perpetuity”, has caused upset within The Guardian’s headquarters at King’s Cross in London.
Members of the board of Guardian Media Group are unhappy that the arrangement will put too much power in the hands of Mr Rusbridger and that in the months to come he will be both editor-in-chief and chair-in-waiting of the Scott Trust. One source said he was “marking his own homework”.
Senior journalists at the paper are concerned at the apparent lack of transparency in the Scott Trust’s decision. One GMG source said the developments made the organisation look like “a small family-run firm, not a world-leading digital business”.
A Guardian journalist said the process did not sit well with the paper’s own record in holding organisations to account. One said: “If this had happened in a private company the Guardian would rightly be scrutinising its compliance with good governance rules.”
Mr Rusbridger has previously been linked with a position at the University of Cambridge, where he was an undergraduate at Magdalene College before beginning his remarkable career in journalism at the Cambridge Evening News.
Among his recent successes as editor include overseeing the Guardian’s investigations into tabloid phone-hacking, publishing details from the cache of US Government cables obtained by Wikileaks, and Edward Snowden’s revelations of Government spying on personal data.
He is expected to stand aside from the procedure of appointing his successor, a process which will begin early in 2015.
Mr Rusbridger, who is in Australia, was unavailable for comment. Lady Margaret Hall has yet to announce Dr Lannon’s successor and is not due to do so until next year.Reuse content