Here’s a hot business story you won’t read in Australia’s premier financial organ. The Financial Review has lost its top commentator, Chanticleer columnist John Durie, to rival paper The Australian

Staff at the paper are “gobsmacked” and “devastated” at Durie’s resignation, according to one insider. The phrase “last straw” is getting some airplay. One very influential Australian business figure told Crikey: “The paper is cratering.”

It isn’t known when Durie will make the move — he only resigned yesterday — but Crikey understands he will be penning a Chanticleer-style column for The Oz in the near future.

Durie is a long-termer at the Fin Review, where he’s done two stints on Chanticleer, most recently for a period of more than eight years. The new job is apparently less about burn-out than exploring the opportunities available at News Limited, particularly their online and multimedia projects.

In exiting the Review, Durie joins the swelling ranks of senior staff upping stumps in the past few months, including Sean Aylmer, Jennifer Hewett (The Australian), associate editor Tony Boyd (PR), Boss editor Helen Trinca (The Australian), IT editor Mark Jones (priesthood), property writer Kathryn House (PR) and news editor Geoff Winestock (indefinite leave).

As Fairfax has tightened its belt in recent times, the Fin Review has been spared the ignominy of forced redundancies — instead, journalists are leaving of their own accord.

We called editor Glenn Burge for his response to Durie’s departure and the issue of staff resignations, but he was tied up in meetings.

Meanwhile, for a recent history of the Fin Review exodus, here’s a list of staff departures published by Stephen Mayne in 2004:

1998

Peter Freeman: quit as associate editor to join Max Walsh on The Bulletin
Michelle Grattan: left for The Age in Nov 1998
Deborah Light: former editor, to The Bulletin
Michael Stutchbury: Key rival of Michael Gill, went to The Australian which he now edits

1999

Finola Burke: Left the AFR in late 1998 to join The Australian and become a media analyst in 2001
Steve Burrell: deputy editor, to SMH
Eric Ellis: former US correspondent left for Time/Fortune
Jeremy Flint: a banking newsbreaker who left for British American Tobacco in the Philippines in 1999
Stephen Mayne: left after two months on Rear Window to run against Jeff Kennett and then set up Crikey
Andrea Papuc: now at Bloomberg HK
Ian Porter: to The Age
Pam Walkley: the news editor and chief of staff joined The Bulletin

2000

Louise Dodson: from the Canberra bureau
Nicholas Reece: to Victorian government as media adviser to treasurer John Brumby
Paul Syvret: to The Courier Mail via The Bulletin
Stuart Washington: to Asia and then BRW
Michael Yiannakis: deputy business editor, left to join the AWSJ in HK

2001

Sheryl Bagwell: former Europe correspondent, quit when her time was up in Feb 2001, now freelancing in France
Grant Butler: to Editor group in 2001
Mathew Carr: the companies reporter left to join Bloomberg in 2001
Alan Deans: to The Bulletin after returning from New York
Ivor Ries: to The Bulletin and EL & EC Baillieu
Ian Rogers: to banking ezine The Sheet
Malcolm Schmidtke: former editor of The Australian who quit The AFR for The Age
Hans Van Leeuwen: to Asia and then the NSW Greens

2002

Winsome Byrne: chief sub, to the Financial Times in London
Paul Cleary: left the Canberra bureau
Jacquie Hayes: left to go to The Oz in late 2002
Simon Hoyle: Smart Money editor, left for the SMH
Lachlan Johnston: to London
Peter Kormendy: left in 2002
Stephen Koukoulas: left to join TD Securities in February 2002
Christine Lacy: to the SMH as CBD gossip columnist
George Lekakis: to the Australian Industrial Relations Commission as a judge’s associate
Steve Lewis: quit the Canberra bureau for The Australian
Stephen Long: industrial reporter who joined ABC radio as a finance reporter
Ray Moynihan: health/medical reporter, now writes for medical journals
Aaron Patrick: a former New York correspondent who left the Canberra bureau to go freelancing
Emily Pettafor: joined The Australian in February 2002
Robyn Stubbs: the marketer who became marketing writer joined Nickelodeon in Dec 2002

2003

Jane Boyle: to Qantas, a company she covered in great depth
John Breusch: to work overseas
Mathew Chandler: property editor left to join PR in late 2003
Luke Collins: stayed in New York, meaning the paper lost 3 straight US correspondents
Ashley Crossland: left in 2003
Michael Dwyer: never returned from being China correspondent, Mar 2003
Nina Field: from Melbourne left in 2003
Peter Hartcher: quit after his Washington posting, Oct 2003
Anne Hyland: quit the HK office in 2003 and now in Spain
Alan Kohler: to the ABC and The Age/SMH after The Fin cut his pay
Jacqueline McArthur: property writer left to join PR in late 2003
Adam Shand: to Sunday-Bulletin in 2003
Sam Strutt: Queensland political reporter
Bernard O’Riordan: former deputy news editor to The Evening Standard in London in early 2003
Tom Switzer: to The Australian as opinion editor

2004

Cathy Bolt: to The West Australian
Mark Drummond: to The West Australian as chief reporter
Jason Koutsoukis: left the Canberra bureau to replace Annabel Crabb on The Age
Chelsey Martin: left the Canberra bureau for DFAT
Lisa Murray: left in Aug 2004
Ben Power: left in Aug 2004
Neale Prior: left to go back to The West in Aug 2004
Ben Schneiders: to the Melbourne Times
Jennifer Stynes: left but will continue to write the thoroughbreds column as a freelancer
Chris Wright: left in Aug 2004