Sat, 13 April, 2024


Charles Wilson

Posted: September 5th, 2022

CHARLES WILSON, a former editor of The Times, among other titles, died on August 31 [2022] at the age of 87.

Charles Wilson was managing director at Mirror Group in the 1990s, and served as editor-in-chief of The Sporting Life during that time.

He was from the working class area of Shettleston in Glasgow, and became a top UK media figure with his first editorship in Glasgow.

Former Trustee Board member Malcolm Speed said: “Charles Wilson held great sway at pension scheme Trustee Board meetings at Canary Wharf.  That doesn’t mean that other Board members were nodding dogs. How could they be, with Paul Vickers, John Hemple, Alan Shillum, Alan Burns and Roy Hutchison (modesty forbids my suggesting more) around the table?

“Charlie was a driving force in securing the settlement for a pension fund in need of money.

“There was jubilation when we sat round the conference table at Travers Smith and the settlement was declared. It felt like a drowning man had been saved.

“For many that will be Charlie Wilson’s legacy as much as his top newspaper executive success.”

After his National Service Charles worked for the News Chronicle and the Daily Mail, where he was deputy news editor, sports editor and northern editor, before editing the Glasgow Evening Times, The Glasgow Herald and the Scottish Sunday Standard at its launch.

He served as deputy editor of the Times from 1982 to 1985 before becoming editor between 1985 and 1990. Before taking up the editorship he had a brief but successful stint in the U.S. editing Rupert Murdoch’s newly-acquired Chicago Sun-Times and, on his return to London, helped to launch The London Post as editorial director.

He was a board member of regulator the Independent Press Standards Organisation at its launch in 2014. He also had a lifelong interest in horseracing and was a member of the Jockey Club and an owner and breeder at his home in Leicestershire.

Charles Wilson was from a working-class background, and began his Fleet Street career, as a teenager, as a copy boy on the Sunday People. A Press Gazette blog in 2013 described him as “one of the great characters of late 20th and early 21st century journalism”.

Friend and colleague Charles Garside said: “Charlie Wilson played a pivotal role in the pre- and post-Wapping history of newspapers. He had a simply amazing career for a young man who began life in the streets of the east end of Glasgow. He was a tough taskmaster who loved journalism and newspapers.”

Wilson is survived by his wife of 21 years, Rachel, his three children, Emma, Luke and Lily, and seven grandchildren. He was previously married to broadcaster and TV presenter Anne Robinson, and journalist Sally O’Sullivan.  There will be a memorial service at St Bride’s Church, Fleet Street on a date to be confirmed.

With thanks to Press Gazette and Mirrorpix.

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