In a wholesale shakeup at The Australian Financial Review, News Limited defector Brett Clegg has been formally announced as incoming CEO of the ailing Financial Review Group with the paper’s editor, Glenn Burge, offered a job elsewhere in the Fairfax empire.

Outgoing CEO Michael Gill, who appeared in a last-ditch interview with Mumbrella last week to save his job, has fallen on his sword and resigned.

Paul Bailey will serve as acting editor before a replacement for Burge is announced.

Clegg was formerly a deputy editor at The Fin before being poached by The Australian’s wily editor-in-chief Chris Mitchell last year. A preliminary offer to return to Fairfax was matched by News Limited, but Clegg served just three weeks as The Oz‘s “deputy CEO” before having his arm twisted again by new Fairfax chief Greg Hywood.

Clegg’s wife Annabel Hepworth will remain at Holt Street.

Here is a staff notice released this morning from Hywood. Read today’s Crikey email for the full story.

From: Staff Notices
Sent: Monday, 21 March 2011 9:39 AM
Subject: Message to All Staff from Greg Hywood

I am pleased to announce the appointment of Brett Clegg to the role of Chief Executive Officer of the Financial Review Group following the resignation of Michael Gill.

As many of you know Brett started as a cadet with the AFR and spent nearly a decade with the paper, where he edited the Companies and Financial Services sections and rose to the position of deputy managing editor. He has also had roles with Macquarie Group and accounting firm Ernst & Young. Most recently he was in the role of Deputy Chief Executive Officer of The Australian.

Brett has the important combination of significant editorial and commercial experience. He will be a superb leader of FRG. Brett is well known for his commitment to quality independent journalism, his very significant commercial nous and a deep understanding of the digital future.

Brett Clegg has told me he is excited to be taking the role as it is the realisation of a long held dream to be leading the group. He has publicly acknowledged the support he received during his time at News Limited from John Hartigan, Richard Freudenstein and Chris Mitchell.

I would like to that Michael Gill for his contribution to Fairfax over the last 21 years. Michael has led the AFR and the entire FRG business through some of the most significant and challenging years in the history of modern media. His commitment to the AFR, BRW, the business and the other publications under his control is to be admired and respected. Michael’s career as a journalist and publisher at Fairfax has been outstanding

Roger Johnstone will be acting in the role of CEO of FRG during the period before Brett’s commencement.

I would also like to acknowledge the contribution of Glenn Burge who will also be taking another role in Fairfax Media. I have asked Glenn to give consideration to working with me in an important role within the company. Glenn has been an excellent editor of the Australian Financial Review, and Editorial Director of FRG and we look forward to harnessing his considerable skills, network in the business community and experience elsewhere in the company.

Paul Bailey will be the acting editor during the period before the announcement of the new editor.

Please join me in welcoming Brett back and in thanking Michael and Glenn.


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