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Belfast Telegraph MD takes up top position with newspaper's owner


Appointment: Richard McClean

Appointment: Richard McClean

Appointment: Richard McClean

The managing director of the Belfast Telegraph has been appointed as Independent News and Media's managing director for publishing on the island of Ireland.

Richard McClean's new appointment was announced last night as part of a new company structure.

It follows the news that INM's group editor-in-chief Stephen Rae is to step down from the position.

INM has also announced that Paul Connolly has decided to resign as a director of the company with effect from May 31.

The financier was a nominee of businessman Denis O'Brien, INM's largest shareholder.

Mr Rae had been with INM for 25 years and held the group editor-in-chief role since 2013.

Before that he was editor of the Evening Herald and editor of the Irish Independent.

"I have had the privilege and honour to lead the editorial department since 2013," he said.

"On completion of my five-year term I will be stepping down from the role.

"Following a transformation of the group into a digital-focused newsroom and content hub, I am now happy to leave the publishing business in a strong position and hand it over to a team of strong and dynamic editors.

"I'm leaving the business at a time when all print titles are market leaders and online platform Independent.ie has become the nation's go-to news source.During my 25 years at INM, I feel greatly privileged to have worked with many extremely bright and exceptional people and to have guided the coverage on some of the biggest news stories our country has seen.

"I am now looking forward to taking on new digital projects which will focus on my core interests of developing new revenue models for journalism along with the hugely important editorial fight against fake news."

INM's chief executive officer Michael Doorly thanked Mr Rae "for his efforts and contribution to the company over many years".

"Stephen has provided great editorial direction to all of our titles and built a team of outstanding editors," he said.

"I would like to thank him for his support during my tenure as CEO and wish him every success for the future."

Separately, Mr Connolly's decision to stand down as a director of the company was announced yesterday afternoon.

It comes less than a week after he was re-elected as director at the group's annual general meeting last week.

Joining the board in March 2009, Mr Connolly served for more than four years as a member of the remuneration committee and for a year as a member of the nomination and corporate governance committee.

A statement said: "Paul played an integral role in setting and executing the key strategic goals formulated by the company following the successful completion of its financial restructuring process in 2013.

"This resulted in the positive restoration of the INM balance sheet and the introduction of its digital strategy positioning the business for future growth."

Mr Connolly said: "I would like to thank all my fellow board members and shareholders as well as the senior management team for their support and confidence in me over my nine years as a director of INM and I would like to wish the company every success in the future."

INM chairman Murdoch MacLennan said: "While I am very disappointed that Paul has decided to resign at this time, I am hugely grateful for the immense contribution he has made to the company over a significant period of transition.

"I have valued Paul's experience, knowledge and independent pragmatic counsel as a board member and colleague.

"His contribution to the board will be greatly missed."

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