Highly regarded patrician banker Sir Victor Blank announced Monday he intends to relinquish the chair of Britain's largest newspaper group Trinity Mirror. His departure, after nearly eight years in the hotseat, is scheduled for May - coincident with TM's annual meeting

Insiders believe his exit is not unconnected with bid overtures made by a number of private equity groups [WAMN: 13-Jan-05]. During his tenure as chairman Blank has publicly opposed shareholder pressure to sell TM's national titles to focus on the richer pickings of its regional newspaper business.

While making no direct reference to the predatory prowlings, Blank's statement that the TM management team is "fully focused on the delivery of the options for growth" is seen by some as code for "raring to sell".

Blank continued: "Our newspapers are part of our heritage and the opportunities presented by emerging technologies are enormous. Trinity Mirror has the strategies in place to capture and exploit them." Rune-readers could interpret this as "hands off".

Gushed group ceo Sly [Sylvia] Bailey: "Victor has made a huge contribution to the success of Trinity Mirror. He has been an outstanding chairman. It was Victor who cleared the way to create the UK's largest newspaper publisher, which commands more than 250 titles."

Data sourced from BrandRepublic (UK); additional content by WARC staff