Who: Australian import Allan is the editor-in-chief of the New York Post, the tabloid owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp.
Backstory: The son of an electrical supply store owner, Colin Allan grew up in a New South Wales backwater called Dubbo and failed out of the Australian National University in Canberra. After covering the police and local politics beats at a paper called (ironically) the Daily Liberal, Allan entered the employ of Rupert Murdoch for the first time, serving as a cub reporter at Murdoch's Sydney afternoon paper the Daily Mirror. Allan's first stint stateside came in the late '70s, when he served as New York correspondent for Murdoch's Australian; he later returned to his homeland, where he worked his way up to the editorship of the Murdoch-owned Daily Telegraph, transforming it into the leading tabloid in town, and getting dubbed "Col Pot" in the process for his tyrannical behavior.
Allan returned to the U.S. in April 2001 to assume control of Murdoch's beloved American rag, the New York Post. An editor in the classic Murdoch mold—hard-drinking, hard-charging, and intensely competitive—Allan has described his job as "the best fun I've had with clothes on."
Grudge: The Post's feud with the Daily News is the fiercest and one of the most famous rivalries in town. Although the animosity predated Allan's arrival, it's heated up considerably since he entered the picture. Allan pushed editors to regularly take shots at the "Daily Snooze" for errant facts and typos; and it was his idea to erect a giant billboard bragging about the Post's circulation across from the offices of the Daily News.
You won't find Allan boasting about the paper's circulation these days, however. When the Aussie took over in 2001, the Daily News was the circulation front-runner and while that changed for several years after Murdoch decided to lower the price of the Post at newsstands in order to sell more copies, the strategy ended up costing Murdoch millions and the decision was later reversed. These days the Daily News maintains a small edge over its more right-wing rival.
Drama: While the Post's tawdry coverage of the news occasionally offends sensitive types, the paper's flagrantly conservative political leanings have irked liberals for close to two decades now, and much like his predecessors, Allan is routinely accused of carrying out Murdoch's political agenda.
His most controversial moments, however, came in 2006 when one of his employees, Page Six staffer Jared Paul Stern, was accused of blackmail. (Billionaire Ron Burkle alleged that Stern had promised him favorable coverage in the column in exchange for a monthly cash retainer.) Stern was never prosecuted, but the saga raised questions about improprieties at the Richard Johnson-edited column, claims that resurfaced a year later when another Page Sixer, Ian Spiegelman, made similar allegations. (Spiegelman also accused Allan of enjoying free sexual favors from strippers at Scores; Allan admitted he'd been to Scores but says his conduct was "beyond reproach.")
An equally embarrassing round of bad press followed in 2009 when several former Post employees filed suit against the paper, accusing Allan of sexually harassing female staffers and making racist comments. In one incident, a female editor claimed Allan approached her at a party and "rubbed his penis up against her and made sexually suggestive comments about her body."
Personal: Allan lives with his wife, Sharon Allan, and four children on the Upper West Side.
No joke: Remember that embarrassing Post front-page "scoop" that John Kerry had picked Dick Gephardt as his running mate in the 2004 presidential election? Rumor has it the erroneous information was provided by a Democratic operative to Lachlan Murdoch who, in turn, passed it to Allan in a deliberate bid to make the paper look foolish.
Full Name: Colin Allan
Place of Birth: Dubbo, Australia
Year of Birth: 1953
Residence(s): New York, NY (Upper West Side)
Filed Under: Media, Newspapers