The chief operations officer of Rupert Murdoch’s British publishing business News UK is leaving, Business Insider UK has confirmed, shortly after the arrival of new management including former Sun editor Rebekah Brooks.
Chris Taylor told his immediate team within the last two weeks that he is leaving the organisation, according to two sources BI spoke with. He’s currently negotiating his exit.
A spokesperson for News UK said: “Chris has decided to leave the business to pursue new opportunities. He has been an excellent executive. We are grateful for all he has done here, and for continuing to work extremely hard to ensure our world-class journalism is delivered professionally across all our platforms.”
News UK, formerly News International, publishes The Times, Sunday Times, and The Sun newspapers in Britain.
Taylor joined as director of enterprise technologies in 2011 and became chief information officer in September 2012 and chief operations officer in June 2013. He worked closely with former CEO Mike Darcy, who left the company in June.
Taylor focused on pushing digital strategy across the papers, moving operations to the cloud and overseeing a £30 million, three-year programme called Newsroom 360 that modernised the news rooms.
Taylor also helped to develop the online paywalls for the Times titles and The Sun. The Times paywall has been relatively successful, helping the paper return to profit, but The Sun recently rolled back much of its paywall after it struggled to gain traction.
The sources BI spoke to indicated that Taylor’s departure was linked to the recent arrival of new management at News UK.
Former Sun editor Rebekah Brooks was named the new CEO of News UK in September. Brooks quit the very same CEO position in 2011 — when the company was called News International — at the height of the News of the World phone-hacking scandal. Brooks was cleared of all charges related to phone hacking.
Crucially, then Sun editor David Dinsmore was named chief operating officer in the same management reshuffle — nearly the exact same job title as Taylor’s. Our sources suggest this put Taylor in a difficult position.