'Sunday Telegraph' editor quits after 18 months

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Patience Wheatcroft has quit as editor of The Sunday Telegraph after just 18 months in the job. She has been replaced by Ian MacGregor, the deputy editor of The Daily Telegraph and a favourite of the Telegraph Media Group chief executive, Murdoch MacLennan.

Ms Wheatcroft, a former business editor of The Times, resigned after a difference of opinion over the editorial direction of the newspaper.

It is the third change of editor at the title in two years. In 2005 Sarah Sands was brought in to replace Dominic Lawson and bring a lighter female touch to the newspaper, but after only eight months she was replaced by Ms Wheatcroft, who was seen as a safe pair of hands. One insider said: "There has been a difference of opinion on editorial policies. Patience is a traditional, old-school journalist and the Telegraph is a multimedia, all-singing, all-dancing organisation."

Mr MacLennan, a former managing director of Associated Newspapers, publisher of the Daily Mail, has brought in a raft of ex-Associated faces to the Telegraph, including Mr MacGregor, who was deputy editor of the London Evening Standard for four years. Mr MacGregor's replacement as deputy editor of The Daily Telegraph is Tony Gallagher, who joined the Telegraph group in November 2006 from the Daily Mail, where he was assistant news editor.

It has been suggested that the Telegraph is moving towards a seven-day news operation, but sources at the newspaper dismissed this idea. Both Telegraph titles recently moved to new headquarters, with a multimedia newsroom, in Victoria.

The Sunday Telegraph relaunched with a new look in June, but the redesign did little to boost circulation figures, which were down 2.95 per cent to 636,681 in July.

Ms Wheatcroft is the latest in a long line of casualties resulting from changes that have swept through the once fusty Telegraph titles. Last month, the longstanding education editor Liz Lightfoot and royal correspondent Caroline Davies left The Daily Telegraph.

Also from the daily paper, night editor David Lucas, New York correspondent Harry Mount and consumer affairs editor David Derbyshire left to join Associated Newspapers.

Former deputy editor Neil Darbyshire, foreign editor Alan Philps and comment editor Stephen Robinson are among those who quit last year.