John was placed on leave last week when owner Johnston Press announced his role of editor-in-chief of Scotsman Publications was disappearing.
But the move has been criticised by the Times journalist Magnus Linklater, who edited the Edinburgh-based title from 1988 until 1994 in the days when it was part of Thomson Regional Newspapers.
Speaking to Glasgow-based website The Drum he said John had done a good job in stabilising The Scotsman after ten changes of editor in 15 years.
Said Magnus: “I feel very sad about John going. I thought that he’d stabilised The Scotsman after a long period of many editors and different changes of direction.
“John got it back to being a good, fairly solid, newspaper, which is what The Scotsman always was and always should be.”
Magnus went on to question whether Johnston Press’s current strategy demonstrated sufficient understanding of newspapers.
He added: “Of course, newspapers such as The Scotsman need to reinvent themselves, but they need to do so from a position of knowledge of the market, understanding of the market and of what newspapers are all about.”
John’s departure means The Scotsman will now be getting its 11th editor in the 18 years since Magnus left the title.
Previous holders of the post in that period were: Andrew Jaspan (1994-1995), James Seaton (1995-1997), Martin Clarke (1997-1998), Alan Ruddock (1998-2000), Tim Luckhurst (2000), Rebecca Hardy (2000-2001), Iain Martin (2001-2004), John McGurk (2004-2006) and Mike Gilson (2006-2009).
Johnston Press said last week that the decision to axe the editor-in-chief role was “part of the overall objective of creating a flatter, more efficient management structure.”