New Times editor may oversee merger

 

News International has paved the way for the merger of The Times and The Sunday Times by announcing that the Independent National Directors of the two papers support the idea.

But the merger cannot happen without Government approval of the scrapping of undertakings to protect the individual identities of the two papers, given by the News Corporation chairman and chief executive Rupert Murdoch when he bought the titles in 1981.

Mike Darcey, the new chief executive of News International, revealed the development as he announced that the long-standing editor of the Sunday Times John Witherow is to be made acting editor of The Times.

The Independent National Directors had been asked to back Witherow's appointment but had recommended that the decision be made as part of an assessment of the need for the fusion of the two loss-making newspapers. Mr Darcey decided to give Mr Witherow the acting role to bring stability to The Times, which has been without an editor since James Harding resigned in December.

Mr Darcey said that NI welcomed the “clear understanding” that the independent directors had “of the very difficult financial position of our newspapers and therefore the need to address the Undertakings given in 1981”.

Times Newspapers lost nearly £12million last year and has reported pre-tax losses totalling £145m over the past three years.

In the post-Leveson inquiry climate, when the government is under pressure not to give in to newspaper industry lobbying and when News Corp remains under the cloud of the phone-hacking and bribery scandals, there is little prospect of the Murdoch undertakings being removed.

Nonetheless, Mr Darcey said the issue would now be the subject of “continued consultation”, signifying that an application to Government for the removal of the undertakings will be made in future.

He said he could not wait for this process before giving new leadership to The Times. “We still have a responsibility to provide these two newspapers and their journalists with strong and stable leadership,” he said. “Given John Witherow’s distinguished record serving as editor of The Sunday Times over the last 18 years, we are putting him on leave from The Sunday Times and appointing him acting editor of The Times.” The Sunday Times will be edited by Mr Witherow's deputy Martin Ivens.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
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 Media

Ashdown Group: Marketing Executive - Urgent Requirement - Central Manchester

£20000 - £23000 per annum + 20 days holidays & pension: Ashdown Group: Marketi...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey/ South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Guru Careers: Social Media Executive / SEO Executive

£20 - 25K + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Social Media...

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence