(The other) Black tipped to step down from PCC

Black: endured turbulent summer

Speculation is growing that Guy Black, director of the Press Complaints Commission, is about to step down.

After more than seven years heading the regulatory body, Black is known to have been considering his options after a turbulent summer when the commission was under fire from a number of newspaper editors.

In a Press Gazette interview in July, Black said he didn’t feel in a position to make a “ringing commitment” about his future because he had been too busy to think about it.

At the time he was committed to stay at least until next spring, and make a decision then. New speculation suggests he may depart at the end of the year.

In that interview, however, there was a suggestion that Black was growing weary of the job’s demands.

“Everybody who knows me knows quite how hard this job is,” he said. “You are never far from the centre of things… either at the receiving end of barrel loads from the press or from politicians’ tirades against the press. “And that’s on top of the day-to-day issues, dealing with an increasing volume of complaints from members of the public.”

Black’s partner, Mark Bolland – his predecessor at the PCC and subsequently Prince Charles’s press adviser – recently became a controversial columnist with the News of the World.

If he does decide to leave, Black can be satisfied he has steered the PCC safely through one of the most potentially turbulent periods in its 10-year history. His CV suggests his future may lie either in politics or in PR – perhaps even a combination of the two. Last week Michael Howard sacked the heads of the Conservative Party’s communications team.

Black was unavailable to comment.

By Ian Reeves

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