Paul Dacre To Step Aside As Daily Mail Editor

Paul Dacre has announced that he is to step aside as editor of the Daily Mail after 26 years.

DMGT chairman Lord Rothermere described him as “quite simply the greatest Fleet Street Editor of his generation” and praised him for holding power to account through many campaigns and investigations.

Mr Dacre said he will step back from day-to-day editing of the Mail by his 70th birthday in November.

He will take on broader challenges within the company as chairman and editor-in-chief of Associated Newspapers. Mr Dacre said he was “announcing this now in order to facilitate the handover to a new team.”

He has been a Fleet Street editor for 28 years, 26 of them at the Mail and prior to that at the Evening Standard.

In his statement, Mr Dacre said: “It is a joy to work for Lord Rothermere. He has given me two things that to an editor are worth more than all the riches of Araby – the freedom to edit without interference and the backing to assemble Fleet Street’s greatest team of journalists.”

He said the “extraordinary team’s tireless efforts” had increased the Mail’s circulation by almost a million copies in a declining market, and made the Mail’s Saturday edition Britain’s biggest selling paper.

The team had launched the Scottish and Irish Daily Mails, Metro – the UK’s top circulation weekday paper – and MailOnline which, under its publisher Martin Clarke, has become the world’s No 1 English-language newspaper website. He said: “During these years thousands of jobs in our industry were created.”

Describing the Mail’s campaigning journalism, Mr Dacre added: “It’s this team who have been behind our countless successful campaigns. Whether it has been justice for Stephen Lawrence and the Omagh bomb victims, plastic in supermarkets and in the seas, Dignity for the Elderly, thwarting Labour’s plans for super casinos, or putting sepsis and prostate cancer on the map, we have shown that newspapers make a difference.

“Without the Mail, Gary McKinnon, Shaker Aamer and Marine A would probably be in jail and Afghan British Army translators, whose lives are now at risk, would not have the chance to live here.”

Alleged computer hacker Mr McKinnon, who has Asperger’s syndrome, was saved from extradition to the US in 2013, and the Mail’s work to free Mr Aamer, the last Briton held at Guantanamo Bay, saw him come home in 2015. Royal Marine Alexander Blackman, jailed for killing a Taliban fighter in the war in Afghanistan, was freed last year.

Mr Dacre also paid tribute to his team for spearheading the battle for freedom of expression against those seeking to impose statutory regulation of the Press.

He said: “This battle is on-going and I plan to continue playing as great a part in it as ever.”

Paying tribute to the Daily Mail’s staff, Mr Dacre expressed his “heartfelt gratitude to everyone – journalists, management, circulation reps and printers – who have made Associated one of the most successful newspaper groups in the world.”

He said it has been a privilege to work with them all, and “I look forward to continuing to do so in my new role in which I will endeavour to ensure that our company remains at the absolute forefront of a rapidly changing industry.”

Under Mr Dacre’s stewardship, the Daily Mail has won Newspaper of the Year on seven occasions at the Society of Editors Press Awards.

In a statement, Lord Rothermere said: “I would like to put on record my and DMGT’s gratitude to Paul Dacre for his brilliant stewardship of the Daily Mail and other titles within the Group over three decades.

“Paul is, quite simply, the greatest Fleet Street Editor of his generation not only for his huge circulation successes on both the Mail and Standard but also for the sheer power of his many campaigns, investigations and crusades that have held power to account, given a voice to the voiceless and often set the political agenda, through six prime ministerships. He has done this while working tirelessly to defend Press freedom to the benefit of our whole industry.

“I am absolutely delighted that Paul has agreed to continue to stay on after his 70th birthday as Chairman and editor-in-chief of Associated Newspapers in addition to advising me and taking on other broader responsibilities in the company at a time of profound upheaval in the media landscape.”