The appointment, which saw him move from the Oxford Times and Herald series, took effect on Tuesday.
Mr McClure told HoldTheFrontPage he intends to make the Mail a real ‘Oxford’ paper, in the same focused tradition that brought awards and recognition to his previous papers.
He said: “My clear intention at the moment is to make it an Oxford paper, and then take in the county.
“I was editor of these very focused weeklies and I intend to repeat that focus here.”
Mr McClure started off in journalism as a crime reporter in South Africa in 1962 before moving to Scotland on the Scottish Daily Mail.
After a tip-off the publication was to close, he picked up the phone and got a job at the Oxford Mail before moving from the Mail to the Times in 1966 where he subsequently became the youngest Westminster Press deputy editor.
He gave it all up to become an author, publishing 14 novels, of which 11 were fiction, and after his literary career culminated in a full page in Time Magazine – “I’d always wanted a review in Time Magazine,” he said – went back to the Oxford Times as a sub editor after 12 years away. He became editor in 1994.
His deputy editor at the Times and Herald series takes over as acting editor while a successor is sought.
Mr Martin left the company on July 25.
Do you have a story for us?
Ring the HoldTheFrontPage newsdesk on
01332 291111 x6022, or to e-mail us now – click here