UK Newspaper Boss Bailey Blasts Predecessors

04 August 2003

The recently installed ceo of British newspaper giant Trinity Mirror has delivered a stinging rebuke to her predecessors.

Fresh from announcing several hundred job cuts, Sly (Sylvia) Bailey – who succeeded Philip Graf as chief executive in February – declared that she had been “most disappointed” at the state of the group when she arrived.

Bailey said she discovered sky-high costs at the underperforming publisher – owner of national daily tabloid The Mirror – but “very little understanding of why that was the case or what could be done about it.”

After a six-month internal review ordered by the new ceo, the group is laying off 550 staff [always the easy option for a new ceo out to impress the entrail-rakers] and selling its local newspapers in Northern Ireland [WAMN: 01-Aug-03]. It hopes to save around £25 million ($40.3m; €35.6m) a year.

Following Bailey’s comments, Trinity chairman Sir Victor Blank was asked if he had considered his position when these problems came to light, “I think I considered what should be done in terms of making the company perform better,” he sidestepped.

One person whose position appears safe for the moment is Mirror editor Piers Morgan. Bailey insisted his job is not under threat despite the flagship title’s falling sales and failed revamp as a ‘serious’ newspaper.

Trinity last week posted a 2.6% rise in first-half profits to £80.4m. Operating profits climbed 5.8% to £101.4m despite a 0.4% drop in turnover to £551.5m.

Data sourced from: Times Online (UK); additional content by WARC staff