Martin Clarke steps down as MailOnline editor-in-chief | Online Mail
MailOnline editor-in-chief Martin Clarke has announced he is leaving the website amid continuing unrest atop parent company DMG Media.
The journalist will retire after 13 years at the head of the media, having integrated it into one of the largest news sites in the world. He took a small site that republished content from the print newspapers Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday and turned it into an aggressive global tabloid with a huge following drawn to celebrity stories and scandals.
The news of his departure shocked the staff at MailOnline, who speculated just two weeks ago that Clarke had become one of the winners of an internal power struggle. The past month saw the promotion of Clarke’s right-hand man, Richard Caccappolo, to managing director of the broader media sector, the departure of Daily Mail editor-in-chief Geordie Greig and the return of former Daily editor. Mail Paul Dacre in an advisory role.
Clarke said he would step down at the end of February and help recruit his successor but that he would “remain at the disposal of the company until the end of 2022” which means he will not be able to join another. publisher before that date.
There were persistent rumors that Clarke had been approached by Rupert Murdoch to join his News UK group, but several industry sources denied that was on the cards, with some insisting Clarke did not have other job in sight.
In a statement, Clarke said he told the group’s majority shareholder Lord Rothermere earlier this year that he wanted to leave “to meet new challenges.”
“It was a once in a lifetime race and there is just no other job at DMG Media that I would rather have,” he said.
Clarke is known within the MailOnline office as a quick-tempered workaholic. Even the staff who respected his eye for a tabloid newspaper article describe how he regularly yelled at staff. Many other employees who felt unable to respond to requests for prompt handling of stories eventually left the point of sale.
His departure comes just over a fortnight after changes to the Daily Mail seemed to indicate closer cooperation between the daily, its twin Sunday newspaper and the website – with people in the print operation being convinced Clarke would supervise them soon.
Greig left in mid-November after three years in charge and was replaced by Mail on Sunday editor Ted Verity, seen as an ally of Clarke.
Just five days later, Dacre, Grieg’s predecessor, was re-appointed as editor of DMG Media, three weeks after leaving a similar post. Clarke was seen to be in a similar mold to Dacre, and therefore her role, and that of MailOnline, seemed to be reinforced.
To add to the chaos, the company this week lost a high-profile lawsuit against Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex just as the Rothermere family battles financial institutions in an attempt to take the company off the stock exchange and return it to private property.
Responding to Clarke’s departure, Rothermere said: “I had to reluctantly accept Martin’s resignation as he is without doubt one of the greatest publishers of his generation; and i am eternally grateful to him for all his immense hard work and genius over the years.
“The Daily Mail is great because of the hard work of many, not just a few. Martin leaves behind the legacy of an impressive number of very talented and committed people across the business who will continue to build on what he created and make The Daily Mail a huge success across the world.