The Jewish Chronicle Trust Ltd is charged with “maintaining and enhancing the standards and integrity of the ‘Jewish Chronicle’ newspaper”, and its editorial independence.
This week, the Trust has supported a liquidation process whereby the ownership of the JC would be transferred by the liquidators from the Kessler Foundation, a charity which has owned the paper for several decades, to a consortium led by Sir Robbie Gibb, former head of communications at 10 Downing Street.
The consortium includes William Shawcross (biographer and former Chairman of the Charity Commission), former Labour MP John Woodcock, respected broadcasters John Ware and Jonathan Sacerdoti, and Rabbi Jonathan Hughes of Radlett United Synagogue. Members from the financial and legal worlds include Tom Boltman (Kovrr), Mark Joseph (EMK Capital), Robert Swerling (Investec) and Jonathan Kandel (Kirkland and Ellis).
The Trust is pleased that such a talented group wish to be involved with the JC, and is further reassured by the retention of Stephen Pollard as Editor.
This is a difficult time for all newspapers, and the JC is no exception. The liquidators have concluded that they wish to proceed with a sale of the assets to the consortium, whose bid will repay existing creditors in full, and will also provide better financial terms for the JC’s staff than any other bid.
The Trust is anxious to avoid the uncertainty that would exist if the Trust objected to the liquidation, and the associated risk to the future viability of the JC.
The Trust’s sole aim has been to see the JC survive and flourish in good hands. As Jonathan Freedland wrote in last week’s issue, it is the “beating heart” of Anglo-Jewry.
We have supported the process leading to the consortium’s ownership of the JC because we believe, in the current circumstances, that to be the best way to keep the JC’s heart beating.
We trust that the consortium will maintain the high regard in which the JC has been held for the last 179 years. We wish Sir Robbie, the consortium, and everyone associated with the JC, well: chazak ve’ematz – be strong and of good courage.
David Wolfson QC is Chair of the JC Trust