Sir David becomes chairman because of his position as editor-in-chief of Associated Newspapers, the publisher of the Mail and the Evening Standard. Associated became a 20 per cent shareholder in ITN last year when its major shareholders, Granada and Carlton were forced to sell 10 per cent of their shares each by the 1990 Broadcasting Act. Sir David replaces Gerry Robinson, chairman of Granada Group, who has been chairman for the last two years.
For the past three years Sir David has been concentrating on Associated's television ambitions after over 30 years as a journalist. He heads Harmsworth Broadcasting, Associated's radio company as well as its highly-lucrative Teletext operation and its not so lucrative Channel One regional cable channel.
Sir David started out on Fleet Street on the left-of-centre Daily Mirror in 1961, but by the Eighties had become Baroness Thatcher's favourite editor and was knighted by her in 1982.
Highly regarded in the newspaper industry for taking the Mail's sales above its long-term rival the Daily Express, Sir David nevertheless used an aggressive management style to rule the Mail's newsroom. So highly regarded is he by the Establishment that he has been used as a personal public relations adviser by both John Major and Diana, Princess of Wales.
Last week he was at the centre of speculation that Associated's newspapers would come out and support the Labour Party. This week the Mail splashed a classic story of trade union dominance in the Labour Party that dominated the election agenda for two days.
The days of Trevor McDonald reading the news to a UK-wide audience could be numbered if another Macdonald in the media business has his way.
Gus Macdonald, chairman of Scottish Television, has served notice that his station is likely to ditch ITN news bulletins if Labour's plans to establish a Scottish Parliament come to fruition. He made his statement, during a dinner hosted by the Royal Television Society.Reuse content