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Editor quits regional daily to join national newspaper

Karl Holbrook 1A regional daily editor is leaving his role to take a top management role at a national newspaper.

Karl Holbrook has announced his departure from the Northern Echo to join the Daily Express as executive editor.

Karl, pictured, has been in charge at the Darlington-based Echo since October 2020, taking over from Hannah Chapman.

Prior to moving to his current role, he had edited the Bolton News since June 2018, adding overall responsibility for Newsquest sister title the Lancashire Telegraph from April 2019.

Echo owner Newsquest has now launched a search for Karl’s replacement and the job is being advertised on HTFP here.

Karl told HTFP: “It has been the honour of a lifetime to lead the editorial teams of The Northern Echo and I will be incredibly sad to leave.

“However, I have no doubt the Great Daily of the North will continue to thrive thanks to the brilliant team at its core.

“In the past 12 months we were named Newsquest’s Publishing Centre of the Year; achieved some of the biggest audience growth in the company, our online subscribers rose more than 30pc and our print circulation – which is the highest in NQ in England – holds up incredibly strong. The vital signs are strong, and I will forever look on with pride and admiration for this incredible brand.

“I will also be forever grateful to Newsquest, in particular Nick Fellows, for taking a punt on me giving me my first editorship at the Bolton News back in 2018.

“Thank you to everyone who has supported my career in Newsquest, not least of all David Coates for trusting me with the job of a lifetime at the Northern Echo.

“A special thank you also to Henry Faure Walker and Toby Granville for their support and encouragement throughout my journey and also to all the fantastic editorial and commercial teams that have made our success possible.”

Karl announced his departure to Echo journalists this morning on his first day back in the office after the Christmas and New Year break.

He added: “I am hugely excited to be appointed executive editor of the Daily Express.

“The brand has such a rich history of investigative reporting, right back to a time when it was the first title in the world to report on the horrors of the atomic aftermath at Hiroshima.

“I look forward to helping further grow its audience across all platforms and build on its strong heritage speaking up for everyday folk across the UK.”

Karl will join the Reach plc-owned Express in March.

David Coates, regional managing director for Newsquest North, said: “Karl has done a fantastic job throughout the pandemic, achieving substantial audience growth over a period in which Newsquest North-East was also named Newsquest’s Publishing Centre of the Year.

“He’s played an important role in our management team, and I know all colleagues will wish him well for the future.”

Karl becomes the latest in a series of editors – including Victoria Birch, Pete Gavan and his successor in Lancashire Steve Thompson – to move from Newsquest dailies to Reach plc in recent months.

Meanwhile, Richard Duggan, who edited five of Reach’s county-wide websites, has moved in the other direction to take over Steve’s old titles and began his new role today.

Posting on Twitter yesterday, Richard wrote: “Five years ago today I moved to Chelmsford to start my first journalism job as a trainee reporter at Essex Live.

“Tomorrow I start my new role as regional editor for Lancashire & Greater Manchester at Newsquest. It’s been a whirlwind few years to say the least. Here’s to the next five.”