Staff at the Kent Messenger Group have been told that the company's long standing editorial director Simon Irwin has left the company with "immediate effect".
Irwin, a member of the Press Complaints Commission, was put on “gardening leave” just over a week ago from the independently-owned company which has just announced proposals to cut more than 150 posts, including 35 editorial staff and the closure of editorial offices at Folkestone and Thanet.
Irwin, 47, was made editorial director of the Kent Messenger Group in January 2003 and promoted to the board. He was previously associate director. He joined KMG in 1998 and was previously assistant editor of the Western Mail in Cardiff. At KMG, he was successively West Kent senior editor and editorial manager before promotion to associate director. He has worked for the Derby Evening Telegraph, Radio Hallam, The Star in Sheffield and the Coventry Evening Telegraph, beginning his journalistic career as a reporter with the Mansfield Chad.
A KMG journalist said: "We have been told in message on the internal intranet that Simon has left the company but not the reasons why."
One theory is that Irwin fell out with new KMG managing director Graham Mead over cuts in pagination.