A controversial editor who took charge of a national daily in the Bahamas after a long career in the UK regional press has stood down after 49 years in journalism.
John Marquis, 65, had been managing editor of Nassau-based daily The Tribune for the past decade until his retirement at the weekend.
He is to be succeeded by John Fleet, who has moved to the Bahamas from the role of chief sub-editor on the Hartlepool Mail.
The 50-year-old, who won the front page of the year prize at last year’s North-East Press Awards, has also held senior positions on The Scotsman, The Northern Echo, Daily Mail and Scottish Daily Express.
Colleagues and friends said farewell to Mr Marquis at a special retirement party held in Nassau at the weekend.
Publisher Eileen Dupuch Carron and her husband, managing director Roger Carron, paid tribute to the crusading editor, whose reign saw an 80pc rise in circulation.
Under his editorship the paper became embroiled in a string of controversial stories – including a scandal involving the blond starlet Anna Nicole Smith which forced a cabinet minister’s resignation and helped bring down the government in 2007.
In recent weeks, he has faced protests outside his offices demanding his deportation after disclosing alleged links between the late prime minister Sir Lynden Pindling and drug traffickers.
“To say my time at The Tribune has been eventful would be the ultimate understatement,” he told HoldtheFrontPage.
But he said The Tribune’s success was due to its bold, fearless approach to news. “The Tribune is what newspapers are supposed to be about,” he added.
Marquis began his career on the Northampton Chronicle and Echo in 1961. He also spent two years on the Nottingham Evening Post before his first stint in the Bahamas, when he worked for both The Tribune and Nassau Guardian.
On returning to Britain in 1969, he joined Reuters in London, then spent 14 years with Thomson Regional Newspapers.
In 1986, Marquis was appointed Editor of Packet Newspapers in Cornwall, spending nearly 14 years in the West Country before returning to the Bahamas.
In retirement, Marquis will continue his career as an author. He has published two books to date – one about the Sir Harry Oakes murder in Nassau in 1943, the other about the Haitian tyrant Francois ‘Papa Doc’ Duvalier.
Bean (13/05/2009 08:53:11)
Glad they made the retirement party ‘special’
Graham Cooke (14/05/2009 01:03:53)
Congratulations. I have never met the guy, but he seems to be what journalism is all about
P Sills (18/05/2009 13:58:32)
I have worked on regionals, nationals and overseas, but Marquis remains for me the consummate professional journalist. Easily the best newspaper writer I’ve ever met.
The Fisherman (19/05/2009 12:55:18)
In Cornwall, Marquis was known to his staff as ‘Johnny Marvellous’ – a tribute to his ability. Though jocular, it was seriously meant.
Chris (19/05/2009 13:15:32)
I was at Hemel Hempstead when John Marquis was a star among stars at the late,lamented Evening Echo, which had the strongest staff of any regional in the country at the time. He won a big award while there and did a brilliant expose on a local hospital. Congrats on a well-deserved retirement.
Bellview (12/06/2009 13:35:38)
I’ve only just seen the piece on John Marquis and felt I had to have my say. I remember the horror among TRN sports journalists when he was promoted to London Sports Editor from the London new desk because he was a ‘news’ man rather than a sports journalist.
Many were hoping he would fall on his a… but he went on to run the London sports desk with rare aplomb, covering world boxing into the bargain, with some great stuff from foreign parts about Muhammad Ali and Brit world champs of the day like Watt, Hope and Minter.
All this came after he won a British Press Award for investigative reporting. I’m not surprised he went on to become a fine editor because he was the best all-rounder I met in my 40-odd years in the newspaper business. Well done John – and happy retirement.
Ex – EC4 (30/10/2009 11:56:21)
I’m surprised no-one has mentioned the best story of Marquis’s career – the one in which he was not the writer, but the subject.
Suffice to say the whole of Fleet Street was as jealous as hell of him at the time.
How many hacks have had the kind of career Marquis has had – and been the much-envied subject of a Sunday Mirror splash as well?
God speed, Johnny Marvellous – the best of the best.