KEVIN O’SULLIVAN HAS resigned as the editor of the Irish Times.
He will be immediately replaced by his deputy, Paul O’Neill. The surprise announcement was made to the newsroom this afternoon.
A statement from the newspaper’s board said O’Sullivan would take up a new position as environment, agriculture and science editor at the organisation.
The 57-year-old was appointed editor of the newspaper in 2011, replacing Geraldine Kennedy following her retirement. O’Neill, now 52, was considered a potential rival to O’Sullivan for Kennedy’s job at the time.
O’Sullivan joined the Irish Times in 1997 and held a number of editorial positions, as well as previously serving as the environmental and food science correspondent. He had been news editor under Kennedy since 2006.
In the statement, he said his tenure “coincided with unprecedented turbulence and uncertainty for media businesses”.
According to the latest figures from the Audit Bureau of Circulations, the Irish Times had an average circulation of 66,251 in the last six months of 2016 – a drop of 11.8% on the same period a year earlier.
O’Sullivan oversaw the introduction of a paywall on the company’s online news services, with the Irish Times in February reporting an average of 91,666 paying customers each day across print and digital offerings.
Incoming editor O’Neill previously worked as a reporter and finance editor, among other roles, at the publication, as well as completing a short stint in PR. He was made deputy editor in 2015.
Reporting by Sinead O’Carroll and Peter Bodkin.