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Financial Times editor Lionel Barber announces he will quit


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Lionel Barber (pictured above) will leave his role as editor of the Financial Times in the New Year

The editor of the Financial Times (FT) has announced he will be stepping down from the helm.

Lionel Barber will leave his role as editor in the New Year, after spending 14 years as the editor.

The 64-year-old was appointed editor of the international paper in 2005 and had previously worked at The Scotsman and The Sunday Times.

He announced his resignation on Twitter this morning, informing his 76,300 followers of the news.

In a tweet he said: ‘After 14 years, I am stepping down as editor in the New Year. It has been a rare privilege and a great pleasure to hold the best job in journalism.’

In a statement sent to colleagues he said it had been a ‘rare privilege and pleasure’ to work at the company.

When it comes to his replacement, deputy editor Roula Khalaf will take up the position, becoming the first female editor of the paper.

Barber tweeted out the news today which was later followed up by an article on the FT website

Barber tweeted out the news today which was later followed up by an article on the FT website

How Lebanese deputy editor worked her way up to become the Financial Times’ first ever female editor

Originally from Lebanon, Roula Khalf is an award winning journalist who will take over from Lionel Barber.

She is a graduate of Syracuse University and also holds a Master’s degree in International Affairs from Columbia, a well-known university in the US and for those who go on to work in the media.

Roula Khalaf (pictured above) will take up the position, becoming the first female editor of the paper

Roula Khalaf (pictured above) will take up the position, becoming the first female editor of the paper

In 2009 she won the ‘Peace Through Media Award’, then in 2011 she was also short listed for the Foreign Reporter of the year award at the Press Awards.

She has worked at the Financial Times since 1995, starting out as North Africa correspondent, before covering the Middle East.

In 2013 she won an award alongside her colleagues for an article about Qatar’s empire. 

She had previously been the assistant editor and foreign editor at the group and is originally from Lebanon.

Barber’s 34-year-career in the news industry will come to an end in January, and he was hailed for ‘transforming’ the paper during his stint. 

He started his career in 1985 as a business reporter at the FT. He worked at other newspapers before returning to the group as Washington correspondent, Brussels bureau chief, news editor and US managing editor.    

Following the announcement, many took to Twitter to wish Barber luck on his new ventures, with many praising him for the work he had done at the group. 

Jo Johnson said: ‘One of the greats! Congrats on an amazing editorship – honour to have had a chance to work with @lionelbarber for 13 fabulous years @FT’.

This is while another user said: ‘You’ve been a source of great inspiration, thanks, and all the best now!’

Some encouraged his to enjoy his break, and one user tweeted: ‘Well done Lionel. Enjoy the rest. Though I trust you are not completely putting your feet up.’

Another tweeted: ‘You’ll be missed. Thanks for everything and enjoy more Spurs matches – if you can!’

Aside from the Twitter tributes, the group’s Japanese owner Nikkei also took the opportunity to praise Barber.

Chairman of the group Tsuneo Kita said Barber was a ‘true internationalist’.

He added that he was a ‘strategic thinker’ and that it was ‘sad to see him leave the group’, but hinted that they had both agreed it was time for a new chapter. 

The FT has won a raft of accolades under his leadership, as has Barber himself – having been offered France’s highest honour, the Legion d’Honneur, in recognition of his career in journalism and the paper’s ‘positive role in the European debate’.

But his editorship has also faced some challenges, not least steering it under Nikkei’s new ownership, as well as last year’s threat of strike action among staff angered by FT chief executive John Ridding’s pay deal.

The outcry was defused after Mr Ridding was forced to hand back his salary rise and agreed a new pay deal.

Barber has worked as editor at the Financial Times (pictured above) for 14 years

Barber has worked as editor at the Financial Times (pictured above) for 14 years 

Barber has also admitted that more needs to be done to boost its readership in the US, where its major competitor, the Wall Street Journal, boasts a 2.5 million paying readership. 

During his time at the FT Barber focused on shifting print advertising – which had originally underpinned a lot of the business.

He helped build a digital publishing strategy and developed a readership of more than one million subscribers.

In 2015 the group came under new ownership after Nikkei purchased it for £844 million. 

It was previously under the ownership of Pearson, of which it had belonged to since 1957. 

Back in May the FT started to look for Barber’s replacement, which was decided by executives at Nikkei. 

Tweets came flooding in wishing Barber looks on his future work. With some also saying he would be missed

Tweets came flooding in wishing Barber looks on his future work. With some also saying he would be missed 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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