Tom Whitwell steps down as Times head of digital after seven years at the paper

By Jennifer Faull | Deputy Editor

The Times


digital article

December 4, 2013 | 2 min read

Tom Whitwell has stepped down as head of digital at The Times, having spent seven years shaping the paper’s digital offering.

Speaking to The Drum Whitwell said that he is leaving The Times in “a very strong position” following the success of its digital subscription service and win of the Premier League video rights.

“The paper is moving from a period of rapid transformation to a phase of business as usual,” he said. “So it felt like a natural time for me to move on.”

Joining as editorial director for Times Digital in 2006, Whitwell was instrumental in leading The Times through its transition to a paid model and the development of its iPhone, iPad and Android apps.

He also led the relaunch of before he was promoted to head of digital at The Times and Sunday Times earlier this year.

Speaking on his career at the newspaper group, he said the launch of the paywall three years ago was a personal highlight.

“The industry was incredibly hostile to the launch, with pundits queuing up to explain all the ways in which the project would fail,” he said, explaining that after three years of tweaking it now has 155,000 digital-only subscribers.

“Success was partly down the ways we changed the relationship between the paper and its readers. We made lots of small changes, from the ways journalists respond to reader comments to the way we interpret the huge amount of behavioural data we produce each day.

“The whole newspaper really got behind the new model. Journalists and editors seemed to instinctively understand that if you're not paying for something, you're not the customer; you're the product being sold.”

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Whitwell was unable to reveal where he will be heading to next, and simply said: “It is a fantastic time to be living in London and working in this industry.”

It is currently unknown who will replace him.

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