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Former Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger will no longer take up the role of Chair at the Scott Trust, according to BuzzFeed.
Rusbridger, who was editor of The Guardian for 20 years, sent an email to former colleagues to explain that he would not become Chair of the company that owns The Guardian in September as planned.
“I wanted to let you know I will not be returning to Chair the Scott Trust later this year,” Rusbridger said.
He added: “When, in late 2014, the Scott Trust appointed me to succeed Liz as chair I was beyond honoured. But much has changed in the year since I stepped down.”
In the letter, Rusbridger explained that Scott Trust CEO David Pemsel and current Guardian editor Kath Viner no longer wanted him to take up the role.
The Scott Trust said in a press release sent to Business Insider: “Alan Rusbridger, Chair-elect of The Scott Trust, has decided not to take up the post in September and to resign as a Trustee. The Trust has reluctantly accepted his decision, although it was its unanimous hope that he would stay on the Board.”
It comes after anonymous staff launched a campaign against Rusbridger. The campaign blamed the former editor for the organisation’s financial difficulties. His successor, Kath Viner, has had to implement plans to cut costs by 20% at the company with 250 job losses.
Guardian Media Group had rising losses of £50 million ($71 million) last year. It hopes to break even by 2018/19.
After stepping down as editor of The Guardian last summer, Rusbridger became Principal of Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford.
Read Rusbridger’s email in full below:
Dear former colleagues
I wanted to let you know I will not be returning to Chair the Scott Trust later this year.
Many of you will know what the Scott Trust has meant to me and for Guardian journalism. It is so unique that not many people – externally, or, sometimes, even internally – truly appreciate the crucial role it has had over many years in nurturing, resourcing and protecting what we do.
When, in late 2014, the Scott Trust appointed me to succeed Liz as chair I was beyond honoured. But much has changed in the year since I stepped down. All newspapers – and many media organisations beyond – have been battered by turbulent and economic forces that were difficult to foresee last summer.
On my appointment to the Scott Trust job in November 2014 the Chair of GMG, Neil Berkett, was kind enough to say publicly : “Alan has set the standard for journalistic leadership in the digital age. His appointment to lead The Scott Trust coincides with rapidly rising readership, continued innovation and secure finances at the Guardian. His successor will inherit a global media organisation in very strong health and with clear prospects for further growth.”
The difference between that assessment and the way things look now is a measure of how much the world has changed.
I have been on the Trust long enough to understand its role. We all currently do our journalism in the teeth of a force 12 digital hurricane. It is surely obvious to anyone that changed circumstances will demand dramatically changed solutions.
Kath and David clearly believe they would like to plot a route into the future with a new chair and I understand their reasoning. I have a fantastically interesting new life in Oxford. I will miss you all.
You have been the most wonderful colleagues and we achieved really amazing things together. I continue to read with immense admiration the journalism the Guardian and Observer produce. It’s all the more enjoyable for having played no part in it.
Thanks to all of you who have quietly emailed support in the past few weeks. And very best wishes to all as you negotiate the storms currently affecting pretty much everyone in our industry. We will come through….