The red-top redhead who became the first lady of Fleet Street

Editor of The Sun promoted to run all Rupert Murdoch's British newspapers

Twenty years ago she joined the News of the World as a lowly researcher. Last night, Rebekah Wade celebrated becoming one of the most powerful women in British business and Rupert Murdoch's representative on Fleet Street.

Ms Wade, 41, was yesterday promoted from editor of The Sun to chief executive of Murdoch's British print empire, News International. She will preside over five titles: The Sun, the News of the World, The Times, the Sunday Times and London freesheet thelondonpaper.

The Sorbonne-educated journalist and the Australian proprietor, 78, finalised the deal when he arrived in London last week. Ms Wade will answer to Murdoch's son, James, who has been promoted to executive chairman of the business.

She will clear her editor's desk formally in September, by which time Murdoch plans to name a replacement. The front-runner is her deputy Dominic Mohan, who has a strong celebrity and features pedigree and a cheeky sense of humour, although he will face a fierce contest, perhaps against Daily Mirror editor Richard Wallace. "If it was a question of just signing off the paperwork, it would have been announced," said a source.

Ms Wade, an experienced operator with a phosphorescent ambition and a a glittering social network encompassing business, politics and showbusiness, has long coveted the position. She has been on overseas business trips with James Murdoch and has been finessing her business skills.

Rupert Murdoch described her as "a great campaigning editor who has worked her way up through the company with an energy and enthusiasm that reflects true passion for newspapers and an understanding of the crucial contribution that independent journalism makes to society".

He added: "I'm thrilled that Rebekah's energetic leadership will be felt even more widely in the company."

Ms Wade, the first female editor of The Sun and a founding member of Women in Journalism, has been at the helm for six-and-a-half years, during which time she cemented the newspaper's position as Britain's largest-selling daily, although circulation recently dipped below three million.

Her time editing the News of the World was noted for the paper's "Sarah's Law" campaign, which demanded the the right to know if convicted paedophiles were living nearby.

Ms Wade married the old Etonian writer and horse trainer Charlie Brooks earlier this month in a lakeside ceremony. They met at the home of Sun columnist Jeremy Clarkson. A recent feature about the couple in the magazine Tatler spoke of dinners with the likes of Bono, the Murdoch clan, public-relations guru Matthew Freud, various viscounts and the Prime Minister and his wife.

Staff will not miss her splenetic emails, which have entered Fleet Street legend. "How many of you woke up this morning, read the Daily Mirror and tendered your resignation?" began one such missive to reporters, after the paper was scooped by its man rival.

Her appointment as chief executive will lead to months of speculation about the game of musical chairs Murdoch has begun in the upper reaches of the company. John Witherow, the editor of the Sunday Times, is said to have been interested in the job of chief executive at one stage, but crossed swords with management over a price rise to £2 in 2006.

James Murdoch will be an "active executive chairman" and still based in Wapping.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
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 Manager - Manchester - Urgent Requirement!

£30000 - £35000 per annum + 20 days holidays & pension: Ashdown Group: Marketi...

Sauce Recruitment: Senior Management Accountant

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Sauce Recruitment: Working for a independently owne...

Sauce Recruitment: Senior Management Accountant

£17 - £20 per hour: Sauce Recruitment: Working for a independently owned and c...

Guru Careers: Mac Operator / Artworker

£Negotiable (DOE): Guru Careers: We are seeking a Mac Operator / Artworker to ...

Day In a Page

Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness
Homeless Veterans appeal: Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story

Homeless Veterans appeal

Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story
Front National family feud? Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks

Front National family feud?

Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks
Pot of gold: tasting the world’s most expensive tea

Pot of gold

Tasting the world’s most expensive tea
10 best wildlife-watching experiences: From hen harriers to porpoises

From hen harriers to porpoises: 10 best wildlife-watching experiences

While many of Britain's birds have flown south for the winter, it's still a great time to get outside for a spot of twitching
Nick Easter: 'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

Nick Easter targeting World Cup place after England recall
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore