Telegraph editorial boss Kim Fletcher to go

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By Dominic Ponsford
 
Telegraph Group’s popular editorial director Kim Fletcher is to step down.
 
The news comes just days after his wife, Daily
Telegraph deputy editor Sarah Sands, was promoted to the job of Sunday
Telegraph editor.
 
On Tuesday this week, Dominic Lawson was asked to leave after ten years in the top job at the Sunday Telegraph.
 
Fletcher was promoted to the Telegraph Group board and the job of editorial director, overseeing both titles, in October 2003.
 He was previously consultant editor and media columnist.
 
He was popular figure with staff and acted as a
management go-between during pay negotiations which followed the
revival of the Telegraph’s NUJ chapel in 2003 and the move to formal
union recognition.
 
In February it seemed Fletcher
had been side-lined by new Telegraph Group chief executive Murdoch
MacLennan, who was brought in following the Barclay brothers’ £665
million take-over of the group last June.
 
NUJ representatives held a meeting with Fletcher in early February and
were told by him that there were no firm plans for job cuts.
 
But just days later a letter was sent around to
editorial staff warning them that 90 jobs would have to go.The job of
union negotiator was taken over by former Daily Mail managing editor
Lawrence Sear  who was brought in as a consultant. 
 
Last week Fletcher appeared in good form at the
launch of his book: The Journalists Handbook at the Polish Hearth Club
in central London. And there was no sign of a rift between him and
chief executive Murdoch MacLennan, who also attended the event.
 
According to sources at the Telegraph, Fletcher
was asked to consider his position as editorial director because it was
felt that his wife being promoted to Sunday Telegraph editor could pose
a conflict of interest.
It is understood that he was offered other editorial positions, but any
new role would have been a demotion compared with the job of editorial
director.
 
His exit is understood to be “completely
amicable” and no leaving date has yet been set.
Fletcher’s previous jobs have included editor of the Independent on
Sunday, a job he was ousted from after 13 months in 1999 when he was
replaced by Janet Street-Porter.
 

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