Alan Rusbridger will not become chairman of Guardian owner

Ex-editor of newspaper had been due to take on role

Alan Rusbridger stepped down as Guardian editor in 2014. Photograph: Getty Images

Alan Rusbridger stepped down as Guardian editor in 2014. Photograph: Getty Images

 

Alan Rusbridger, the former editor-in-chief of The Guardian, said on Friday that he would not move up to be chairman of the Scott Trust, the non-profit body that owns the news organisation. The announcement by Mr Rusbridger, whose 20 years at the helm of The Guardian were marked by an aggressive expansion overseas as well as its first Pulitzer Prize, comes with the organisation facing extensive cost cutting as it looks to reduce its spending.

The group said in its annual report for 2015 that its operating losses were £45.3 million pounds (€58 million). The Guardian Media Group, which is supported by the Scott Trust, said in January that it intended to trim its costs by 20 percent in three years, in part by cutting jobs.

“The economic climate facing all newspapers has changed drastically in the last 12 months,” Mr Rusbridger said in a statement released by the Scott Trust.

“It’s obvious that new business models will have to be created, and I can understand why a new team would want a new chair. I send my former colleagues every possible good wish for the future.”

Immeasurable

In the statement, the Scott Trust said that it had “reluctantly accepted his decision” and that Liz Forgan, the current chair, would stay in place until a successor was chosen.

“Alan Rusbridger’s contribution to The Guardian over 20 years as editor-in-chief is immeasurable,” Ms Forgan said. “He has been the creative leader of this place and an inspiration to generations of journalists. His decision reflects his enormous integrity and his dedication to The Guardian.”

Mr Rusbridger was succeeded as editor-in-chief of The Guardian by Katharine Viner last summer. Since then, he has been the principal, or head, of Lady Margaret Hall, a college at Oxford University. Mr Rusbridger was to become chairman of the Scott Trust this autumn under an agreement reached in 2014 when he announced that he would step down as The Guardian’s editor.

New York Times Service