Hull Daily Mail editor John Meehan, left, is bowing out in the wake of the decision by parent company Northcliffe Media to scrap the roles of regional editorial directors and introduce new publisher roles at the group’s four biggest centres.
John, who had been regional editorial director for the group’s North-East titles, informed new managing director Steve Auckland in April that he felt the creation of the publisher role would be the best time for a change of direction in his career.
He is to be replaced in Hull by Neil Hodgkinson, currently editorial director of the CN Group and editor of the News and Star, Carlisle.
The surprise news of John’s departure was announced by Mr Auckland in a statement to Northcliffe staff this morning.
He said: “In April, John Meehan informed me he’d like to step down from his role as editor of Mail News & Media later in the year. We agreed that this would happen when other changes in the Hull business had been worked through. I can now announce that John will leave Northcliffe Media on Friday, 14 October.
“John is Northcliffe’s longest-serving daily newspaper editor, with 14 years’ service as editor of the Express and Echo in Exeter and then the Hull Daily Mail.
“In addition to being Editor of the Hull Daily Mail, John has been Regional Editorial Director of the North East for the past five years. John felt that, when the publisher position in Hull was advertised, this was the best time for a change of direction in his career.”
Said John: “It has been an absolute pleasure and a privilege to have been the editor of the Hull Daily Mail and to have played a significant part in the development of the brilliant business we have in Hull.
“I have been fortunate to have worked with so many creative, talented and hugely committed colleagues in Hull and elsewhere in Northcliffe. I wish all of you continued success.
“My 14 years as a Northcliffe editor have gone by like a flash – it has been an amazing journey, full of highlights and lots of fun. I will be sad to say goodbye to Northcliffe and to the Mail, but at the same time I am hugely excited by the opportunity to take my career in a new direction.
“I am also delighted by Neil Hodgkinson’s appointment as my successor. He is a very talented, vastly experienced and much respected editor who will be an excellent leader of the editorial operation.”
Under John’s editorship, the Hull Daily Mail has been crowned Yorkshire Daily Newspaper of the Year in five of the past eight years and was Daily Newspaper of the Year in the 2008 Regional Press Awards.
A passionate advocate of multimedia publishing, he also saw the Mail win the award for Publishing Innovation of the Year in the 2006 Regional Press Awards.
He will report to Mike Pennington, who was appointed publisher of the Hull centre following the recent shake-up.