Paul Whittaker has been appointed editor-in-chief of The Australian, replacing Chris Mitchell who will retire later this month after 13 years in the position and 23 years as an editor.
Mr Whittaker’s current positon as editor of Sydney’s The Daily Telegraph will be filled by Chris Dore, the editor of The Courier-Mail in Brisbane. The appointments will take effect from Friday, December 11, the date of Mr Mitchell’s retirement. Editor of The Australian, Clive Mathieson, remains in his current position.
Mr Dore’s new role will see him return to Sydney where he was deputy editor of The Sunday Telegraph and deputy editor of The Australian. His successor at The Courier-Mail is expected to be announced in coming weeks.
Mr Whittaker was editor of The Australian from 2007 to 2011, before taking up The Daily Telegraph editorship.
News Corp Australia chief executive Peter Tonagh and News Corp Australasia executive chairman Michael Miller described Mr Whittaker’s credentials as “exemplary”.
“His leadership will affirm The Australian’s place as the nation’s most significant newspaper,” the two executives said in a statement.
“His previous experience on The Australian as editor, deputy editor and national chief-of-staff will ensure the paper maintains the momentum and journalistic excellence driven by Chris Mitchell.”
The retirement of Mr Mitchell will see News Corp Australia lose its longest serving editor, although Mr Mitchell will continue his involvement with The Australian by contributing a regular column.
Mr Mitchell has been editor-in-chief of The Australian since 2002 after being its editor for three years from 1992, when he went to Brisbane as editor-in-chief of The Courier-Mail.
News Corp executive chairman Rupert Murdoch congratulated Mr Mitchell on his achievements throughout his 42 years as a journalist.
“In particular, I am grateful for your contribution to The Australian,” Mr Murdoch said in a message sent to News Corp staff. “As editor-in-chief you have led a paper that is dedicated to pursuing stories of great significance, and which shapes the national debate on the issues that matter to Australia and its future.”
“Thanks to your leadership, The Australian has never been better than it is now, and today it is the embodiment of the hopes and ideals we had for the paper when we launched 51 years ago.”
‘Thanks to your leadership, The Australian has never been better than it is now, and today it is the embodiment of the hopes and ideals we had for the paper when we launched 51 years ago’ – Rupert Murdoch
Mr Tonagh and Mr Miller described Mr Mitchell as an “inspirational leader” and a “fierce champion of the paper” in a joint message sent to staff. “Chris’ contribution to The Australian, our company and indeed our country cannot be underestimated,” the message said.
The two executives also noted Mr Mitchell’s “unwavering commitment” to reporting on indigenous affairs and his leadership around digital publishing, which saw The Australian become the first general newspaper to offer digital subscriptions and be chosen by Apple to be its publishing launch partner for the iPad.
Mr Whittaker worked under Mr Mitchell for almost five years and described him as a mentor and a friend.
“Chris steps down with the paper in a strong position and he can take great credit for its unique position in the Australian media landscape. I am determined to ensure the quality of the journalism continues to be outstanding in all its forms,” he said.
Mr Mitchell began his career as a cadet at the Brisbane Telegraph when he was 17. He joined The Australian in 1984, and has worked for The Daily Telegraph and The Australian Financial Review.
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