McLellan: Scotsman departure was simple cost cutting

Former Scotsman editor John McLellan has spoken of his sudden departure from Johnston Press and his new job as communications director of the Scottish Conservatives.

McLellan left the company in April when Johnston announced that as part of plans to create a ‘flatter, more efficient management structure’the role of editor-in-chief for Scotsman Publications Ltd – with overall editorial responsibility for The Scotsman, Edinburgh Evening News and Scotland on Sunday – was being scrapped.

‘It’s quite straightforward,’McLellan told Press Gazette this week.

‘Johnston Press and other organisations, they’re slimming down, they have to find ways of getting the papers out with fewer people and lower editorial budgets and I’m part of that process,’

‘There’s nothing more to it than that.”

And commenting on his new role, he added: ‘I’m delighted to be here. It’s a pretty important time for Scotland, to say the least.

‘And as editor of the Scotsman I often said that it was a privilege to have a ringside seat at the biggest political decision the country has faced for 300 years. Now I’m in the ring.”

He added: ‘I was just fortunate enough that this opportunity arose at the same as I was leaving the Scotsman. The two things are not related in any way, shape or form.”

Since joining Scotsman Publications in 1994 McLellan has had two spells editing the Edinburgh Evening News and also edited Scotland on Sunday.

He became editor of The Scotsman following the departure of Mike Gilson in early 2009 before taking on the role of editor-in-chief.

Asked if hec could make a return to journalism, he replied: ‘I’ve never ruled anything out, never ruled anything in.

‘I’m just concentrating on this job. It’s a huge job, a massive opportunity for me and one I’m really excited about.”

On Monday Johnston announced that McLellan’s replacement at the Scotsman, Ian Stewart, will remain editor of its sister title Scotland on Sunday.

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