The publisher of the Daily Mirror is in advanced talks to appoint Simon Fox, the outgoing boss of the struggling entertainment retailer HMV, as its new chief executive, I have learned.
Barring any last-minute hitches, which a person close to the situation said remained possible, Mr Fox's appointment could be announced following a Trinity Mirror board meeting that City sources say is scheduled to take place later today.
A person close to Trinity Mirror insisted that a decision about the company's new chief executive had not yet been made.
If he does get the nod from board members, Mr Fox's arrival as the successor to Sly Bailey, who left Trinity Mirror in June, would raise eyebrows in the City given HMV's troubled recent past.
Mr Fox is understood to have been identified as a potentially suitable replacement for Ms Bailey because of his familiarity with the challenges posed by the internet to the revenue streams of traditional retail and media businesses.
He is also well known by David Grigson, Trinity Mirror's new chairman, who until recently was chairman of aNobii, a digital books venture in which HMV had been the leading investor.
One shareholder in Trinity Mirror told me Mr Fox's appointment would be "a bit of a gamble" although they conceded that during his six-year tenure at HMV, he saw the chain's fortunes hit by the rapid growth of digital music downloads and was forced to sell Waterstone's, the bookseller, and agree a new financing deal with HMV's lenders to secure its survival.
The Trinity Mirror role is not the first big media job for which Mr Fox has been courted. A former executive at Comet, the electrical goods retailer, he was approached three years ago about taking over as chief executive of ITV, the commercial broadcaster, but turned it down.
If he is appointed at Trinity Mirror, it would necessitate Mr Fox stepping down as a non-executive director of Guardian Media Group, where he has served on the board since 2010.
Shareholders in Trinity Mirror will be watching closely for the details of the new chief executive's pay after Ms Bailey became a victim of the serial revolts over executive remuneration. I expect that the new incumbent will be paid significantly less than his predecessor.
The recruitment of an external replacement for Ms Bailey may spark further turmoil at the top of Trinity Mirror. Vijay Vaghela, the finance director who has been acting chief executive since Ms Bailey's exit, and Mark Hollinshead, who runs Trinity's national newspaper division, had both been seen by analysts as strong contenders for the top job.
The appointment of a new boss would come at a turbulent time for Britain's newspaper industry, with the Leveson Inquiry into press ethics expected to make wide-ranging recommendations for reform.
A number of Mirror journalists have been implicated in the phone-hacking scandal which prompted the closure last year of News International's News of the World.
The regional newspaper sector, in which Trinity Mirror has the largest market share, has been particularly badly hit by declining circulations and advertising revenues. Hundreds of local newspapers have either closed, reduced their publication frequency or become digital-only titles, with many more expected to follow.
Last month, Trinity Mirror posted a better-than-expected rise in operating profit driven by heavy cost-cutting, an approach which had led to the sackings of the Daily and Sunday Mirror earlier this year in favour of a single editor of the two national 'papers.
However, the company warned that the launch of The Sun's Sunday edition would impact its circulation revenue in the second half of 2012.
Among the other headaches facing the new chief executive will be Trinity Mirror's vast pension deficit, which stands at more than 20 times the value of the company itself.
The other big players in the regional newspaper market, which include Johnston Press and Daily Mail and General Trust's Northcliffe Media, have also struggled. City analysts expect further consolidation to take place, with the Daily Mail owner viewed as the most likely to offload its local newspaper assets.