The Info List - Scott Trust Limited

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The SCOTT TRUST LIMITED is the British company that owns Guardian Media Group and thus _ The Guardian _ and _ The Observer _ as well as various other media businesses in the UK. In 2008, it replaced the Scott Trust, which had owned the _Guardian_ since 1936.

The company is responsible for appointing the editor of _The Guardian_ (and those of the group's other main newspapers) but, apart from enjoining them to continue the paper's editorial policy on "the same lines and in the same spirit as heretofore", it has a policy of not interfering in their decisions. The arrangement tends to give editors a long tenure: for example, last incumbent, Alan Rusbridger , had been there from 1995 until 2015.

The current chair of the Scott Trust Board is Alex Graham , who replaced Liz Forgan in 2016. Other board members include the current editor-in-chief Katharine Viner , Guardian finance editor Nils Pratley who is the journalist director of the board, and one member of the Scott family.


* 1 History

* 1.1 1936–1948 * 1.2 1948–2008 * 1.3 The Scott Trust Limited: 2008–present

* 2 The Scott Trust Board

* 2.1 Current members * 2.2 Past members

* 3 The Scott Trust Foundation * 4 References * 5 External links



The Trust was established in 1936 by John Scott, owner of the _Manchester Guardian_ (as it then was) and the _Manchester Evening News _. After the deaths in quick succession of his father C. P. Scott and brother Edward , and consequent threat of death duties , John Scott wished to prevent future death duties forcing the closure or sale of the newspapers, and to protect the liberal editorial line of the _Guardian_ from interference by future proprietors. The first and only Chairman of the first Trust was John Scott.


The Trust was dissolved and reformed in 1948, as it was thought that the Trust, under the terms of the original Trust Deed, had become liable to tax due to changes in the law. At this time John Scott also gave up his exclusive right to appoint trustees; the trustees would henceforth appoint new members themselves. Five months after the signing of the new Trust Deed, John Scott died. After three years of legal argument, the Inland Revenue gave up its claim for death duty.

The eight initial trustees of the 1948 Trust were all connected with the Manchester Guardian and Evening News, Ltd., and included four of C. P. Scott's grandsons as well as the then editor of the _M.G._, A. P. Wadsworth . It has become normal practice for a _Guardian_ journalist to be a member of the trust, though he or she is not considered to be a "representative" of the staff, as this may result in a conflict of interests.

In 1992, the Trust identified its central objective as being the following: "To secure the financial and editorial independence of _The Guardian_ in perpetuity: as a quality national newspaper without party affiliation; remaining faithful to its liberal tradition; as a profit-seeking enterprise managed in an efficient and cost-effective manner."

The Trust saw its main functions as being the following:

* "To secure the Trust's own continuity by renewing its membership and by dealing with threats to its existence * To monitor the organisation, financial management and overall strategy of the Group, holding the Board accountable for its performance * To appoint and 'in extreme circumstances' to dismiss the editors of _The Guardian_, the _Manchester Evening News_ (and _The Observer_ after its acquisition in 1993) * To act as a 'court of appeal' in the event of any dispute between the editorial and managerial sides of the operation."

The second Trust had five Chairmen over its 60 years: Alfred Powell Wadsworth (1948–56), Richard Farquhar Scott (1956–84), Alastair Hetherington (1984–89), Hugo Young (1990–2003) and Liz Forgan.


In October 2008 it was announced that the trust was being wound up and its assets transferred to a new limited company named The Scott Trust Limited. The core purpose of the Trust was enshrined in the constitution of the Limited company and "cannot be altered or amended." The new company is barred from paying dividends, and "its constitution has been carefully drafted to ensure that no individual can ever personally benefit from the arrangements."

In February 2010, the company announced the sale of its GMG Regional Media arm and its regional print titles to the Trinity Mirror Group . The regional titles comprised the _ Manchester Evening News _ and 31 others in the North Wes