There’s all sorts of talk coming out of Fairfax in the wake of departed CEO David Kirk.

Talk of how his $2.8-million-a-year deputy, Brian McCarthy, now acting CEO, has been out to get his boss since the Rural Press merge in May 2007. “He plotted from day one.”

Of how the fabled Fairfax “silos” that divided the business between print, online, magazines, radio, dating sites and more, actually represented divisions between the territorial claims of McCarthy and Kirk.

Of how we will now see McCarthy and the Rural Press “hard bastard” ethos in ascendency. McCarthy a man whose every second utterance is “what would I know, I’m just a boy from the bush” evinces a faux naivete that masks an utterly ruthless cutter and shaver.

Talk of how David Kirk took a business worth $7billion in the boom and reduced it to a $2.2billion husk. Of how all of a sudden Fred Hilmer’s reign looks almost like a golden age, with a share price that tipped $6.20 at one point and a circle of acolytes that have now dispersed — like Mark Scott and Alan Revell – into successful new incarnations. Of how Kirk loved his politics, New Zealand and the online business. How he never “got” the Fairfax newspapers, was never engaged by that facet of the business and handed it to McCarthy as a play thing.

Of how McCarthy never met with his editors and treated them with disdain — Andrew Jaspan in particular. Of how Kirk too simply failed to manage, was “utterly inaccessible” according to one current senior manager and at one stage had 16 directly reporting executives. Of how McCarthy ran Management Development Groups and used them as a forum to directly, openly, undermine Kirk and sell his vision of a streamlined, cost-conscious publisher — “the McCarthy Doctrine” said one attendee. Of how Fairfax digital boss, the smooth talking yank Jack Matthews — a Kirk man — is a lame duck. Chairman Ron Walker too.

This is how one senior Fairfax hand sees the morning’s events: “This is a great result for shareholders, but the end of Fairfax as we know it. This is a company that represents none of its former brand equity. It is a disaster. McCarthy will take over. And his crew. These are guys that boast about running newspapers with 95% advertising. That’s not a newspaper. That’s a brochure. That’s the future of Fairfax.”

Much to talk about at The Age Christmas Party tonight at swanky Federation Square eatery Zinc. And elsewhere.