Journalist-turned TV producer Alex Graham has been appointed as the new chair of The Scott Trust – the body which owns The Guardian and The Observer.
He will take over from Dame Liz Forgan later this year and fills the gap left after former Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger decided to resign from the trust in May. Rusbridger had been set to replace Forgan but stepped down in May citing opposition from editor Katharine Viner and chief executive David Pemsel.
Graham has been on the Scott Trust board since 2012. He began his career as a reporter on the Bradford Telegraph and Argus before becoming a producer at London Weekend Television.
He was series of editor of Diverse Reports and the Media Show on Channel 5 between 1983 and 1991 and set up Wall to Wall productions in 1987.
According to The Guardian, Graham made a multi-million pound fortune when Wall to Wall was sold to Shed Media in 2007. He stepped down as chief executive in 2013.
According to the Scott Trust his appointment comes after an “open and rigorous process”.
Dame Forgan said: “I have been truly honoured to serve as chair since 2003. The past thirteen years have been an extraordinary period in the life of the Guardian. There will be a proper goodbye from me later but, for now, I am delighted we have appointed a successor who will continue to provide the strong leadership required to guarantee the editorial integrity of the Guardian and a financially sound future for the Guardian Media Group.”
Guardian Media Group is current seeking to get losses under control. In the year to the end of March 2016 it made a loss of £69m on turnover of £217.5m. It is planning to reach break-even within three years through a four-pronged strategy:
- Enhancing the Guardian’s membership offering
- International growth in the US and Australia
- Better data management
- Restructuring the less profitable parts of the company.
The part-time job of Scott Tust chair carries a salary of £53,000. The trust appoints the editor of The Guardian (and, in extreme circumstances, has the power to sack them). And it also signs off on big decisions concerning the future of The Guardian and Observer titles.