Michael Hand - Former Financial Times senior editorial executive who helped the transition to full-page make-up

The death on 12 June of Michael Hand, a former senior editorial
executive on the Financial Times, at the age of 71 has robbed
journalism of a true gentleman.

It had been 12 years since he
retired from the FT after a distinguished 26 years as a reporter, a
news editor and assistant editor, but he is still remembered with great
affection.

His FT years saw immense technological change, in
which he played a central role. Toward the end of his career, he
devoted much time to the training and development of a new generation,
and his legacy lives on.

He began his journalistic career with
Westminster Press at Oxford, joining the FT in 1967 as a reporter.
Within a couple of years he was Labour correspondent, before joining
the central newsdesk in 1972. In 1977, Mike became UK news editor.

Two years later, he took charge of the surveys department, initiating, commissioning and editing special pages and supplements.

In 1981, he was made managing editor.

The
job included responsibility for union negotiations in what could often
be fraught circumstances; nonetheless it was notable that when he
relinquished the role in 1985 members of the NUJ chapel committee were
among the first to buy him a valedictory drink.

By 1985, the
paper was gearing up for the introduction of its first electronic
publishing system, and Mike became assistant editor in charge of
training.

He was central to the programme for introducing the new
system. He also overhauled the FT’s graduate training programme,
initiating contacts withuniversities across the country to broaden the
intake beyond Oxford and Cambridge, and worked closely with the then
Westminster Press training centre at Hastings.

He also established far more systematic monitoring and mentoring of trainees and other new recruits once they arrived at the FT.

The
subsequent introduction of fullpage make-up on screen saw Mike as
production editor, again playing a major role in driving the paper
forward.

He retired in 1993, but maintained his FT links as
chairman of its charities committee, sparked by his involvement with
the London Guildhall University’s ethnic minority careers development
project.

A quintessentially decent, kindly person, he and his
wife, Anne, enjoyedretirement in an idyllic cottage in rural Kent,
surrounded by their rare breed Jacob sheep.

He was a mainstay of
the FT’s Christmas lunch for its retired journalists – though seriously
ill, he had arranged the next in a series of regular get-togethers for
former FT newsdesk colleagues and their wives for next month and had
told everyone how much he was looking forward to it – and was involved
in organising an Oxford Mail reunion for the autumn.

Only two weeks ago, he e-mailed a colleague about to retire on the joys of retirement.

He is hugely missed and is survived by his wife and their two children, Paul and Jenny.

David Walker, executive editor Financial Times

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