Tuesday 21 May 2019

Mark Little: Rebekah Brooks not taking control of Storyful

Rebekah Brooks, former 'News of the World' editor
Rebekah Brooks, former 'News of the World' editor
Mark Little denies key role for former 'News of the World' editor

Paul O'Donoghue

Former 'News of the World' editor Rebekah Brooks is not taking over control of Irish social news agency Storyful, according to the company's founder Mark Little.

It had been reported that Mrs Brooks, who was recently cleared of all charges in Britain's phone hacking scandal, was set to return to News Corp and be named as the head of the Storyful, which was bought by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp for €18m in 2013.

However, Mr Little said that although Storyful has had discussions with Mrs Brooks regarding digital content, she is not currently set to head up the company.

"We've had conversations with Rebekah Brooks about the wider digital landscape but she's not taking over control of Storyful," he said.

"We have the same CEO that I handed over to, the same control structures so nothing has changed."

The former RTE Washington correspondent recently stepped down from his role as the company's CEO and was replaced by Rahul Chopra who operated as News Corp's senior vice president for video.

Mr Little now works as the Storyful's director of editorial innovation but maintains a strong interest in the running of the firm and says Storyful's engagement with Mrs Brooks "has primarily been about the video business of digital".

He said: "She was doing a listening tour of interesting digital companies around the world and that's the basis of our engagement then and still is.

"As far as we're concerned with Storyful, we know what's going on in our company, we have no idea what News Corp are going to do. We just have to wait and see where News Corp go."

A spokesman said Rahul Chopra "is, and will remain, the chief executive of Storyful".

He added: "Regarding Rebekah Brooks, discussions are ongoing, so it is not possible to offer a detailed explanation of a position that does not yet exist.

"Those discussions have focused in part on digital networks, which is something News Corp is involved and interested in given our overall plans to expand digitally and globally, but as to the specifics of how that might relate to Storyful or other parts of the business, it's premature to speculate."

The return of the former chief executive of News Corp's British subsidiary and one of Mr Murdoch's closest allies has been the subject of much speculation since her acquittal last summer.

Ms Brooks was acquitted last year by a London court of being part of an illegal conspiracy at the now-defunct 'News of the World' newspaper to hack into phones and make illegal payments.

She has been on a four-year break from the company since resigning as chief executive of News International, now known as News UK, in 2011.

Irish Independent

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