It’s a change of guard over at Northcliffe House where Geordie Greig will step down as editor of the Daily Mail at the end of the week.
Greig will be replaced by Ted Verity as editor of Mail Newspapers with responsibility for the Daily Mail, The Mail on Sunday and You magazine.
Verity, the current editor of the Mail on Sunday, will take control of all titles in a seven day operation. A protege of Paul Dacre, Verity has been with the Mail for thirty years, starting out as a news reporter, moving on to being royal reporter and then editor of the newspaper’s all-important Femail section. He was the favourite to succeed Dacre, editor of the Daily Mail who was moved upstairs after an astonishing 25 years as editor three years ago.
But getting Verity into one of Fleet Street’s hottest seats may be a final coup de grace by Dacre – never a fan of Grieg – who only left his largely honorific role as chair and editor of chief of the Daily Mail’s parent company two weeks ago as he prepares to have another go at being Ofcom chairman.
Dacre was not the only Mail staffer to worry about the party-going Greig taking over. Fears that Beyonce style fluff- pieces rather than Brexit cheer-leading stories would dominate the Mail’s thundering front-page never quite materialised and Grieg has been viewed -internally at least – as a rather good egg.
Yet although shut away on the top floor, Dacre didn’t stop intervening, writing a letter to the Financial Times accusing the Remain-backing Greig of being “economic with the actualité” when it came to suggesting advertisers thought the newspaper had become too toxic.
Fleet Street is now in hyper-loop mode trying to work out why Greig has been asked to spend more time in his garden. Yet, in typical Mail fashion, he stays on as a consultant.
Staff are said to be astonished by the latest news which, even by Mail standards, they say came as a bolt from the blue. No one quite knows why he’s been given the boot. Was it because Greig has been far too critical of Boris Johnson, attacking the government on cladding and cronyism?
And that Lord Rothermere – who came under pressure from friends and family to replace Dacre because of his infamous “Enemies of the People’ type banner headlines with someone more soft – found the newspapers had become too critical of the government? In contrast to Greig, Verity’s approach at the Mail on Sunday has been to be much more cosy with No 10.
Who knows what goes on the top floor of Northcliffe House. But there is a bigger picture at play: money. This latest editorial shake-up follows an equally big reshuffle of the executive team earlier this week when DMG Media chief executive, Kevin Beatty, said he was stepping down. Mail Online chief operating officer Richard Caccappolo replaces Beatty as chief executive while DMGT’s deputy chief financial officer will be deputy chief executive.
The musical chairs come ahead of Lord Rothermere’s plans to take DMGT, which also owns the i and Metro, into private hands after 90 years on the London stock market.
Rothermere, the great-grandson of the newspaper’s founder, has offered his takeover plans to shareholders who must now approve the deal which values the whole company at £3.1 billon on December 16. But it’s not entirely sure that the deal will go through on these terms: investors would like to see Rothermere put up more dosh.