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
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Ashdown Group: Deputy Editor (Magazine Publishing) - Wimbledon - £23-26K

£23000 - £26000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Deputy Editor - Wimbledon...

Ashdown Group: Editor (Magazines/Publishing) - Wimbledon - £26-30K

£26000 - £30000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Editor (Magazines/Publish...

Ashdown Group: Print Designer - High Wycombe - Permanent £28K

£25000 - £28000 per annum + 24 days holiday, bonus, etc.: Ashdown Group: Print...

Guru Careers: Business Development Manager / Sales

COMPETITIVE +Benefits: Guru Careers: A Business Development Manager / Sales (w...

Day In a Page

Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent
Markus Persson: If being that rich is so bad, why not just give it all away?

That's a bit rich

The billionaire inventor of computer game Minecraft says he is bored, lonely and isolated by his vast wealth. If it’s that bad, says Simon Kelner, why not just give it all away?
Euro 2016: Chris Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Wales last qualified for major tournament in 1958 but after several near misses the current crop can book place at Euro 2016 and end all the indifference
Rugby World Cup 2015: The tournament's forgotten XV

Forgotten XV of the rugby World Cup

Now the squads are out, Chris Hewett picks a side of stars who missed the cut
A groundbreaking study of 'Britain's Atlantis' long buried at the bottom of the North Sea could revolutionise how we see our prehistoric past

Britain's Atlantis

Scientific study beneath North Sea could revolutionise how we see the past
The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember,' says Starkey

The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember'

David Starkey's assessment
Oliver Sacks said his life has been 'an enormous privilege and adventure'

'An enormous privilege and adventure'

Oliver Sacks writing about his life
'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

The Rock's Chief Minister hits back at Spanish government's 'lies'
Britain is still addicted to 'dirty coal'

Britain still addicted to 'dirty' coal

Biggest energy suppliers are more dependent on fossil fuel than a decade ago
Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition

Orthorexia nervosa

How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
Lady Chatterley is not obscene, says TV director

Lady Chatterley’s Lover

Director Jed Mercurio on why DH Lawrence's novel 'is not an obscene story'
Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests

Set a pest to catch a pest

Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests