Lord Rothermere: New Chief Executive of Daily Mail Owner

Company Goes Private, Lord Rothermere Takes the Helm

Lord Rothermere, the chairman of the 126-year-old Daily Mail & General Trust (DMGT), is set to become the new chief executive of the family newspaper business. This business includes renowned publications such as the Mail, i, Metro, and New Scientist magazine. The move follows the company’s decision to take its slimmed-down portfolio private, effectively ending its 90-year run on public markets. Paul Zwillenberg, who has steered the company for the past six years, will hand over the reins to Rothermere.

A Strategic Shift

According to Rothermere, the shift to private ownership means that the needs of DMGT have changed significantly. As a result, he will be taking on the dual role of chairman and chief executive to address these evolving requirements. In his email to the staff, he assured them of his commitment to working closely with DMGT’s leaders, leveraging their collective expertise to propel the company’s strategy and seize the opportunities that lie ahead.

Zwillenberg, who has had a long-standing and close relationship with Rothermere, acknowledged that his implementation of the strategy to streamline DMGT and take it private would inevitably lead to his own departure. “I knew that I would work myself out of a job,” he admitted.

Streamlining and Acquisitions

During Zwillenberg’s tenure as chief executive since 2016, he successfully generated over £3.6 billion by divesting stakes and businesses. Among the notable disposals were Zoopla, the education firm Hobsons, the energy data operation Genscape, the insurance risk business RMS, and the listing of Cazoo. Simultaneously, DMGT strategically expanded its media portfolio through carefully targeted acquisitions. The company acquired the New Scientist magazine in a £70 million deal in March last year and the i newspaper in a £49.6 million deal three years ago.

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Last November, the Rothermere family made a significant £3.1 billion deal to take DMGT private. This move solidified their control over the company.

Farewell and Continuity

Zwillenberg acknowledged the immense privilege he had working closely with the chairman throughout his career. However, he believed it was time to reassess the company’s path and make decisions that would benefit its businesses and employees moving forward. Therefore, he decided that the time was right for him to step down. It’s worth noting that Zwillenberg will continue to support Rothermere as a senior adviser, alongside Tim Collier, the finance director, who is also stepping down.

Changes in Leadership

In November, Paul Dacre, the former editor of the Daily Mail, left his position as chair and editor-in-chief of its parent company, Associated Newspapers. Subsequently, after an unsuccessful attempt to become the chair of the media regulator Ofcom, he returned to the business in a new role as editor-in-chief of Associated’s parent company, DMG Media.

Recently, Geordie Greig was removed as editor of the Daily Mail, ending his three-year tenure, and Martin Clarke stepped down as the editor of MailOnline, having spent 13 years building it into one of the world’s largest news websites.

Daily Mail

The changes in leadership indicate a dynamic period for the company as it adapts to new market realities and positions itself for continued success in the ever-evolving media landscape.

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