News & Opinion

John Witherow is confirmed acting editor of The Times

Sunday Times editor John Witherow has been appointed acting editor of The Times and Martin Ivens, deputy editor of The Sunday Times, has been made its acting editor.

James Harding, the previous editor of The Times, stepped down last month. Witherow is thought to be Rupert Murdoch's choice as Harding's successor, having been editor of The Sunday Times for 18 years.

However, Witherow's appointment has reportedly come up against opposition from the title's independent directors, who have to agree on a new Times editor.

It is understood that Murdoch, chairman of the Times' parent company, hopes to merge The Times and The Sunday Times - something that would require waiving legal undertakings signed in 1981 to keep the titles separate.

Mike Darcey, chief executive of News International, said: "Following a meeting of the Independent National Directors of the Times and the Sunday Times we welcome their clear understanding of the very difficult financial position of our newspapers and therefore the need to address the undertakings given in 1981.

"A thorough assessment of the undertakings will enable them to make recommendations to us and to government as to how the newspapers can be structured in order to reduce their costs and become economically viable.

"However, during this interim period of continued consultation over the undertakings, we still have a responsibility to provide these two newspapers and their journalists with strong and stable leadership."

The six independent directors of The Times include Veronica Wadley, a former editor of the London Evening Standard; Rupert Pennant-Rea, a former editor of the Economist and deputy governor of the Bank of England; and Stephen Grabiner, a venture capitalist who previously worked at the Daily Telegraph and the Daily Express.


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