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Scotsman editor: Alex Salmond should not run newspapers

Johnston Press' largest shareholder wants the former First Minister to chair the publisher.

Scotsman: The newspaper's editor said Alex Salmond may be 'ignorant'.
Scotsman: The newspaper's editor said Alex Salmond may be 'ignorant'. STV News

The editor of the Scotsman has warned against Alex Salmond becoming the newspaper's publisher.

Norwegian businessman Christian Ager-Hanssen, who is seeking to sack the Johnston Press board and install his own, revealed the former First Minister as his proposed chairman of the publisher on Thursday.

Frank O'Donnell has hit back at Mr Salmond's comments that the newspaper is "largely irrelevant" and under his stewardship it would be "pro-Scottish".

In a full-page editorial, Mr O'Donnell said the ex-SNP leader was " either ignorant of the paper's content or perhaps he equates 'pro-Scottish' as being pro-SNP".

https://stv.tv/news/east-central/1401357-alex-salmond-joins-bid-to-take-over-scotsman-publisher/ | default

He added: "We are custodians of a great and important title. And beyond that, jobs and livelihoods are at stake.

"More than 2000 people are employed by Johnston Press. If I was searching for a top class after-dinner speaker, I would definitely give Alex Salmond a call.

"But the man to help steer newspapers through their most turbulent times for 200 years? Perhaps not."

On Friday, Mr Ager-Hanssen's venture capital firm, Custos Group, purchased eight million additional shares in Johnston Press, bringing his stake in the company up to 20% and its single largest shareholder.

The venture capitalist is attempting to force an emergency general meeting of the publisher in a bid to oust its board and install a new board with Salmond as its chairman.

https://stv.tv/news/politics/1396580-alex-salmond-in-talks-to-take-his-festival-show-on-tour/ | default

When asked about Mr O'Donnell's comments, Mr Ager-Hanssen told BBC Radio Scotland the editor was "totally wrong - it's as simple as that".

He added: "What a CEO in a company like this in a group does, they appoint editors and editors decide what to write."

The would-be owner said he and Mr Salmond "share the same mission" and he wishes to "to take it back as a champion for Scotland."

"My mother told me about the Scotsman newspaper way back in the 80s when I was living in Stavanger and how impressive that newspaper was," he said

"I want to take it back to the glory days. And I share the same mission with Alex."

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