David Yelland (journalist)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

David Yelland (born 14 May 1963) is a former journalist and editor of The Sun and founder of Kitchen Table Partners, a specialist public relations and communications company in London, which he formed in 2015 after leaving the Brunswick Group LLP.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Born in Harrogate, Yorkshire, Yelland was adopted at birth by Michael and Patricia Yelland of York.[1] He has a younger brother, Paul. Yelland subsequently traced his birth father, now deceased.[1][2] Yelland's natural mother was a children's writer from Harrogate, who died before he could meet her.[1] In childhood he suffered alopecia and after wearing a series of wigs he decided to go without them when he was 31 and living in New York.[1]

Yelland was educated at Brigg Grammar School (now known as Sir John Nelthorpe School) in Brigg, Lincolnshire, from 1976 to 1981,[3] followed by Coventry Polytechnic (now a university), where he obtained a BA in Economics. He was a founding member of the Social Democratic Party.[4] He later studied at the Harvard Business School in 2003,[1] sponsored by News International.[5]


Yelland's first journalism post after university was at the Buckinghamshire Advertiser.[1] He was a trainee with Westminster Press, then part of Pearson, and worked on a series of regional papers including the Northern Echo and the North West Times in Manchester.[4] Yelland was hired as business editor on The Sun in 1992 by then-editor Kelvin MacKenzie,[6][7] and became deputy editor of New York Post in 1995,[1] as well as a speech writer for Rupert Murdoch.[7]

Editorship of The Sun[edit]

He was editor of the tabloid newspaper The Sun from mid-1998[7] to January 2003. His predecessor was Stuart Higgins and his successor was Rebekah Wade.[8]

His editorship was largely liberal and in an interview with The Guardian towards the end of his editorship he described himself as "a progressive liberal". He did the same in an interview with Tim Burt in the Financial Times in 2002 which ran on the front of the media section. Yelland says his favourite headline was "Is this the most dangerous man in Britain?" about Tony Blair, and his worst moments were publishing topless photos of Sophie Rhys-Jones (now the Countess of Wessex)[6][9] and running a front-page editorial asking whether Britain was being run by a "Gay Mafia", a front page he has since acknowledged was a mistake and contrary to his personal views.[4] During his editorship he regularly feuded with Piers Morgan of the Daily Mirror.[4][10] Yelland appeared on the BBC Today programme and wrote an opinion piece in The Guardian on 29 September 2013 arguing for reform of the press and for the Royal Charter on its future to be adopted.[11]

Public relations[edit]

Yelland became senior vice-chairman of the PR consultancy firm Weber Shandwick in 2004.[12] He joined Brunswick in 2006.[1] At Brunswick, he advised businesses on media and crisis management. His clients have included Lord Browne, Burberry, Ocado, Lord Foster, Tony Ball (ex-Sky), Warner Music Group, Brookfield Multiplex,[12] Tesco,[12][13] Coca-Cola,[12] and Cadbury-Schweppes. In 2015 he left Brunswick to form Kitchen Table Partners which the Financial Times reported would counsel individuals as well as businesses.


Yelland has written a children's novel about a 10-year-old who tries to hide his father's alcoholism, titled The Truth about Leo,[14] which was published by Penguin Books in April 2010.[15][16]

Personal life[edit]

He married Tania Farrell in January 1996 at City Hall, New York City, but the couple divorced in 2004. Tania died from breast cancer in September 2006. Their son, Max, was born in Queen Charlotte's Hospital, Shepherds Bush, London, in August 1998.[1][14]

Yelland is now married to Charlotte Elston, director of communications at BBC Worldwide.[17] On 30 September 2012 they announced the birth of their daughter in The Times.

Yelland said in 2009 that he checked into rehab for alcoholism in 2005 and has not drunk alcohol since.[14] He said his novel was written both for children and adults, and a further theme is that of a young boy who has lost his mother. The book is dedicated to the memory of Tania, and to Max.

He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.[4] He is a board member of the NSPCC and in 2007 was appointed a Life Patron of the charity.[16] He supports Manchester City Football Club. He was a board member of the National Campaign for the Arts from 2010 to 2012.[4] He became a Trustee of Action on Addiction in 2012. He has been a Patron of the National Association for Children of Alcoholics (Nacoa) since 2010.[18]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "A life in the day: David Yelland". The Sunday Times. 8 April 2007. Retrieved 23 January 2010.
  2. ^ Sheridan, Dorothy (30 August 2006). "Obituary - John Sheridan". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 January 2010.
  3. ^ "Briggensian David Yelland appointed Editor of the SUN". Briggensians. Retrieved 23 January 2010.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Murden, Terry (25 September 2005). "Interview: David Yelland: A new place in the sun". Scotland on Sunday. Edinburgh. Archived from the original on 24 September 2015.(subscription required)
  5. ^ Jury, Louise (14 January 2003). "The quiet man of tabloid journalism returns to the US". The Independent. Retrieved 23 January 2010.
  6. ^ a b Morris, Sophie (16 May 2005). "My Mentor: David Yelland on Rupert Murdoch". The Independent. Retrieved 23 January 2010.
  7. ^ a b c "Media top 100 2001: 14. David Yelland". The Guardian. 16 July 2001. Retrieved 23 January 2010.
  8. ^ Billings, Claire (13 January 2003). "David Yelland replaced by Wade as Sun editor". Brand Republic. Retrieved 23 January 2010.
  9. ^ "Interview: David Yelland, Former Editor, The Sun & David Hill, Former Labour Director of Communications". Breakfast With Frost. BBC. 19 January 2003. Retrieved 23 January 2010.
  10. ^ O'Carroll, Lisa (22 April 2002). "Yelland rubbishes new-look Mirror". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 January 2010.
  11. ^ Yelland, David (29 November 2013). "Leveson: Britain's press needs to learn humility – I should know - David Yelland". the Guardian.
  12. ^ a b c d Snoddy, Raymond (4 July 2005). "Colin Byrne & David Yelland: "Yes, we do have the same interests"". The Independent. Retrieved 23 January 2010.
  13. ^ Day, Julia (9 June 2005). "Tesco bags Yelland for PR role". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 January 2010.
  14. ^ a b c Pidd, Helen (11 November 2009). "Former Sun editor David Yelland says alcohol nearly killed him". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 January 2010.
  15. ^ Jury, Louise (10 November 2009). "David Yelland: Drink almost killed me". Evening Standard. London. Archived from the original on 14 November 2009. Retrieved 23 January 2010.
  16. ^ a b "The Truth About Leo". Puffin Fiction. Penguin Books. Retrieved 23 January 2010.[dead link] Review The Daily Telegraph 3 April 2010
  17. ^ Mandrake (1 June 2010). "Some sunny day". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 21 November 2010.
  18. ^ Digital, Modular. "Nacoa - The National Association for Children of Alcoholics - David Yelland". www.nacoa.org.uk.

External links[edit]

Media offices
Preceded by
Stuart Higgins
Editor of The Sun
Succeeded by
Rebekah Wade