Irish Independent editor retires

Fri, Sep 7, 2012, 01:00

Independent News & Media has announced retirement of Gerry O'Regan as editor of the Irish Independent with immediate effect.

He is to be replaced by the former editor of the Evening Herald, Stephen Rae.

Mr Rae's appointment follows a change of management at IN&M, following the exit of Gavin O'Reilly as chief executive earlier this year and shareholders' ousting of former chairman James Osborne in June.

IN&M's new chief executive Vincent Crowley is embarking on a series of cost-cutting measures at the group, including an oversubscribed voluntary redundancy scheme at the Sunday World, as it seeks to reduce its debts. The change in the editor's chair follows last week's appointment of Leslie Buckley, a close associate of the group's largest shareholder, Denis O'Brien, as chairman.

By moving from editor of IN&M's Evening Herald to the Irish Independent job, Mr Rae is mirroring the career path taken by his predecessor in 2006.

Before becoming Herald editor, Mr Rae was its deputy news editor and served as its security correspondent. From Castlemaine, Co Kerry, he is a graduate of the DIT School of Journalism and qualified as a barrister at King's Inns, Dublin, in 1996. He is also a former editor of the Garda Review - a background that may have contributed to the strong focus on crime stories at the Herald.

Mr Rae is said to be respected within the group for his commercial sense. Circulation of the Evening Herald has declined from 85,756 to 61,179 over the course of his tenure - partly as a result of competition from the Metro Herald freesheet but largely as a result of competition from free online news outlets breaking news throughout the day.

However, over the past year circulation dropped by just 1.2 per cent - a much better performance than the market average.

Mr O'Regan (62), who retired after seven years in the position, will continue his association with the newspaper as a weekly columnist and contributor.

Chief executive of IN&M (Ireland) Joe Webb, thanked Mr O'Regan for his “unstinting contribution during his time as editor of the Irish Independent, the Evening Herald and the Irish Daily Star”.