Trkulja: quit after eight months
Hello! editor-in-chief Maria Trkulja has quit after just eight months in charge following a clash with Hello!’s Spanish owner, Eduardo Sanchez Junco.
Her sudden decision is said to have sprung from a meeting last week with Sanchez, who flew to London to demand greater editorial control.
Although Trkulja was offered an alternative role, sources say she felt unable to carry on given that her powers as editor had effectively been removed from under her. “The job now isn’t the job she took on,” a source said.
Trkulja informed her team of her decision on Tuesday and reassured them their jobs would be safe. But it is understood a further shake-up in editorial is planned.
Privately, Trkulja is said to feel “very sad” about the situation and she is currently considering her options.
In a statement, she said: “I have enjoyed my time at Hello!, but the change in the role for the editor-in-chief, consequently upon the proposed reorganisation, does not fit in with my career plans and aspirations. I leave wishing the business well for the future.”
Sanchez added: “Maria has made a valuable contribution during her time at Hello! and we are sorry that we have not been able to persuade her to stay on after the reorganisation.”
Sources fear the worst for Hello!, especially with the battle in the celebrity sector hotting up with edgier titles such as Now, Heat, New! and Closer stealing the limelight – all of which have built their success on television stars as opposed to more glamorous and wealthy aristocrats. Sources say the celebrity culture is very different in Spain where there is little understanding of the recent phenomena in Britain for unknown “Reality TV” stars. Big Brother’s Jade is said to have sent sales sky high for both Now and Heat.
Hello! has tried to achieve a balance by tapping into the TV obsession, putting Coronation Street and EastEnders stars on the cover, but insiders say they will be less of a priority in future.
Contrary to some reports, Hello! publisher Sally Cartwright said she had no intention of leaving. “My position is absolutely secure,” she told Press Gazette. “I obviously must be annoying Northern & Shell an awful lot for them to say that.”
Cartwright said there could be some staff changes but there were no plans for any redundancies.
The departure of former News of the World editor and Trkulja’s predecessor Phil Hall is also believed to have been prompted by editorial differences and budget cuts. Although Sanchez is believed to be looking for a senior editor to fill Trkulja’s place, it is expected to be a very different role.
By Ruth Addicott