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Telegraph Editor Lewis Made Digital MD, Launches New ‘Entrepreneurial’ Division

UK’s Telegraph Media Group editor-in-chief Will Lewis is becoming the company’s managing director for digital, and will head a new “entrepreneurial” division with 50 staff to lead the company’s search for new revenue streams. Lewis retains his editor-in-chief role across print and online, but Daily Telegraph deputy editor Tony Gallagher is promoted to editor to run the paper on a day-to-day basis.

TMG digital editor Ed Roussel tweeted the changes on Thursday and they are confirmed in a release from the company.

The company adds in the release that its 2009 profit was expected to be ahead of its 2008 earnings. The company made an operating profit of £32 million in 2008, compared to £34.3 million in 2007.

It’s yet more power and responsibility for Lewis — who has been on a management course at Harvard for much of this year — who will have 50 staff at the new business unit, based near Euston station in London. TMG CEO Murdoch MacLennan says the plan is to drive new digital revenue streams and “fast-forward to the next stage of our digital transformation“. Lewis thanks TMG’s chairman Aidan Barclay — son of TMG’s billionaire co-owner Sir David — for investing “millions in this exciting venture”.

So what will Will’s super-digital-revenue task force achieve? We gained a glimpse into the company’s move into e-commerce and affiliate marketing from a talk by Brian Harrison digital director: he stressed the importance of not just publishing news, but somehow monetising it with relevant ads and offers — and not just of the text or banner variety.

TMG was one of the first — if not the first — UK newspaper groups to integrate its staff across online and print and across its website and two national newspapers.