Chris Mitchell eyes exit from The Australian with it ‘close to being profitable again’

ChrisMitchellThe Australian editor-in-chief Chris Mitchell has said the newspaper is “close to being profitable again” as he confirmed speculation he was planning to step down from the role when a successor is in place.

Last year Mitchell admitted the newspaper had not been profitable since 2008, later telling the Mumbrella360 conference he would hand over the reins only when the business was “in a good state”.

“We’ve got the highest number of full-paying digital subscribers of any paper in the country,” he told Mumbrella today. “Our circulation has probably fallen less in print then any other paper as a percentage.”

According to last Friday’s Audit Bureau of Circulation figures, which cover the July to September period, The Australian had 73,118 digital subscriptions, with its print product sitting on a 101,040 circulation for the same period.

In June last year Mitchell acknowledged industry speculation that he might step down following the newspaper’s 50th anniversary by saying he would move on “when I feel ready”.

“I would like to hand the paper and the digital businesses over in a good state,” said Mitchell at the time.“I would like to have clearly defined successors who I felt were ready for it,” said Mitchell.

Following on from a report in The Australian Financial Review’s Rear Window which suggested The Daily Telegraph editor Paul Whittaker was the favourite to replace Mitchell, he told Guardian Australia: “I will step down when a successor is agreed at a date yet to be worked out.

“After such a long period running the paper I wanted to give the company plenty of time and am in no hurry. I have been asked to remain in a couple of capacities but no decisions have been made.”

Miranda Ward


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