INM group editor and director to step down

Stephen Rae

By Daniel McConnell, Political Editor

The group editor and a director of Ireland's biggest newspaper group are to depart their posts.

Stephen Rae, Group editor-in-chief of Independent News and Media (INM), is to stand down from his position.

His departure was made known this morning but the company has not made any public comment yet.

Also, Mr Paul Connolly is stepping down as a Director of the company with effect from May 31, 2018.

Mr Rae said: “I have had the privilege and honour to lead the editorial department since 2013. On completion of my five-year term I will be stepping down from this role.

"Following a transformation of the group into a digital-focused newsroom and content hub I am now happy to leave the publishing business in a strong position and hand it over to a team of strong and dynamic editors.

"I'm leaving the business at a time when all print titles are market leaders and online platform has become the nation’s go to news source.

"During my 25 years in INM I feel greatly privileged to have worked with many extremely bright and exceptional people and to have guided the coverage on some of the biggest news stories our country has seen.

I am now looking forward to taking on new digital projects which will focus on my core interests of developing new revenue models for journalism along with the hugely important editorial fight against fake news.

Mr Connolly, who leaves at the end of the month, was appointed to the INM board in March 2009 and served for more than four years as a member of the Remuneration Committee and one year as a member of the Nomination and Corporate Governance Committee.

Chairman of INM, Murdoch MacLennan, said: '"While I am very disappointed that Paul has decided to resign at this time, I am hugely grateful for the immense contribution he has made to the Company over a significant period of transition.

"I have valued Paul's experience, knowledge and independent pragmatic counsel as a board member and colleague. His contribution to the board will be greatly missed".

Mr Connolly said: "I would like to thank all my fellow board members and shareholders as well as the senior management team for their support and confidence in me over my nine years as a director of INM and I would like to wish the Company every success in the future".

The company has been engulfed in controversy in recent months having seen major changes to his board.

INM is also objecting to efforts by the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement (ODCE) to have inspectors appointed to the company.

Mr Rae's departure comes in the wake of the leaving of chairman Leslie Buckley and ex-CEO Robert Pitt.

It is understood Mr Rae will be replaced by Richard McLean, the current managing director of the Belfast Telegraph, but this has not been confirmed.

It is understood Mr McLean will be appointed head of publishing. The role of group editor-in-chief is being discontinued.

Mr Rae (51), a native of Co Kerry and long time member of staff at the media group, was appointed to the position of editor-in-chief in June, 2013.

As editor-in-chief, Mr Rae had overall responsibility for the Irish Independent, Sunday Independent and Herald titles.

Prior to that he was editor of the Irish Independent from September 2012 and was a former editor of the Evening Herald.

Mr Rae is scheduled to appear as a witness at the Disclosures Tribunal next month.

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