Daily Telegraph editor leaves as newspaper focuses on digital business

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's centre-right Daily Telegraph newspaper said on Tuesday its editor had left as the paper focuses efforts increasingly on its digital business to survive.

Journalists at the paper took to Twitter to express sadness at the departure of Tony Gallagher, who has held the post since 2009.

"Telegraph editor Tony Gallagher has just been banged out of the newsroom. Everyone in shock," tweeted technology writer Sophie Curtis, in a reference to the traditional noisy ceremony that accompanies leaving newspaper employees.

Another journalist, Mr Ben Bryant, told followers that some staff were left in tears after the announcement was made.

In a statement, the company praised Mr Gallagher's role, including in a high-profile investigation that uncovered misuse of their expenses system by Members of Parliament, but said it was time to restructure the newspaper.

"Unlike our rivals, The Telegraph remains profitable but we face increasing pressure on circulation and advertising revenue streams," said the chief executive of the Telegraph Media Group, Mr Murdoch MacLennan.

"To protect the company's future, we need rapidly to embrace and adapt to the new digital world in which our customers live."

Pre-tax profit at the newspaper group rose to 57.2 million pounds (S$120 million) in 2012 when it said investment in digital infrastructure would be a priority.

The newspaper introduced new apps and subscription packages and last year began using a metered model for access to its Internet edition, which gives readers a numbers of articles for free.

But editor-in-chief Jason Seiken said the newspaper had to make significant changes if it was to remain viable.

"We must reinvent the way we work and move beyond simply putting news and information online and be an essential part of the audience's lives.

"Our competition is no longer only newspapers and we must innovate to survive."