Tuesday 12 December 2017

Change of editor at 'Irish Times'

Kevin O'Sullivan. Photo: Twitter
Kevin O'Sullivan. Photo: Twitter
Donal O'Donovan

Donal O'Donovan

Long-time editor of 'The Irish Times' Kevin O'Sullivan stepped down yesterday and was replaced by Paul O'Neill, who had been deputy editor.

Mr O'Neill has held numerous posts with the paper since he joined initially in 1989, including as London correspondent, crime and news reporter and finance editor.

After a stint in public relations he rejoined the title and was most recently deputy editor and editorial director.

Insiders say that he is regarded as a straight talker and decisive, but as a central player in the editorial management he is not expected to make any radical shift from the existing strategy at the business, which has been to focus increasingly on building up paid online subscribers to replace declining print sales.

Both Mr O'Neill and Mr O'Sullivan are natives of Co Waterford.

One source described yesterday's announcement - made to staff at 3.30pm - as a "bolt from the blue".

It is not expected to precipitate a wide-scale shake up of the senior editorial team, which was overhauled in 2015.

However, Mr O'Neill is likely to name a new deputy editor, a job that will be hotly contested.

In an unusual move, Mr O'Sullivan will remain with the newspaper in a newly created role as environment, agriculture and science editor.

Mr O'Sullivan succeeded Geraldine Kennedy in 2011 as editor of 'The Irish Times'.

In a statement yesterday he thanked staff at the paper for their work, but also pointed to the challenges of the role.

"My term has coincided with unprecedented turbulence and uncertainty for media businesses," he said.

Along with other media outlets, 'The Irish Times' has struggled to replace revenue lost as a result of declining print sales and the increasing shift of online advertising to technology giants Facebook and Google.

In June last year 'The Irish Times' announced plans to reduce costs by €3.5m over three years, including a target to cut payroll costs in the business by €1.5m.

The paper employs close to 400 staff and is currently completing a voluntary redundancy programme.

Irish Independent

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