Watson quits Trinity Mirror

Ellis Watson, managing director of Trinity Mirror’s national newspaper portfolio, has quit the business in order to take the top distribution job at retail business John Menzies.

The shock move will see the high-profile and popular character leave Trinity Mirror’s London headquarters at Canary Wharf in order to be closer to his young family.

Watson joined Trinity Mirror in 2003 as general manager for its national newspapers and became new chief executive Sly Bailey’s right hand man with responsibility for the Daily Mirror, Sunday Mirror, Daily Record, The People and the Sunday Mirror.

In May 2004 he was promoted to managing director and has since attempted to steer the Daily Mirror through the most turbulent period in its history after editor Piers Morgan was sacked following the publication of alleged fake photographs showing Iraqi prisoners being abused.

Despite commercial success across the national newspapers portfolio, in terms of turnover, profit, operating margins and a return to growth in advertising revenues, the package of titles have suffered in the industry-wide slump in tabloid sales.

Sly Bailey, chief executive of Trinity Mirror, said: “Ellis comes from Planet Tabloid and we are all going to miss his flamboyance, his dreadful dress sense and of course his unswerving 'modesty'.

“Ellis has imbued great excitement, wit and skill into our business and it will be a less colourful place without him. I sincerely wish him every success for the future and look forward to working with him in his new role.”

Watson praised Trinity Mirror for giving him the opportunity to work with “many of the most talented people in newspapers”.

He added: “I'm really grateful to Sly for giving me the opportunity to oversee some of the UK's best-loved titles and in doing so to post a cracking set of results.

“But I also love my family and wish to see them grow and develop so I'm returning to my other passions in life and they are all in Scotland.”

At the last round of audited sales figures for national newspapers, Trinity Mirror’s titles – Daily Mirror, Sunday Mirror, The People and the Daily Record – saw year-on-year declines of 9.7%, 4.8%, 6% and 4.7% respectively in March 2005.

By Kevin May

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