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Wed 13 Nov 2019 08:38 AM

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Lebanon's Roula Khalaf named first female editor of Financial Times

Lionel Barber ends 14-year stint, after doubling its print circulation and growing digital subscriptions to over one million

Lebanon's Roula Khalaf named first female editor of Financial Times

Khalaf will become one of the most senior women in global journalism. (FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP via Getty Images)

Lionel Barber will step down as editor of the Financial Times newspaper after 14 years in the post and will be replaced by Roula Khalaf, currently deputy editor, in January.

Barber joined in 1985 and helped steward the distinctively pink business paper through its 844 million pound ($1.1 billion) purchase by Japanese publisher Nikkei Inc. in 2015 from education publisher Pearson Plc.

Khalaf will become one of the most senior women in global journalism. She’s been the FT’s deputy editor since 2016, having joined the paper in 1995 from Forbes magazine, the paper said in a statement. She has had stints as foreign editor and Middle East editor and has also driven initiatives to improve newsroom diversity.

The FT’s daily print circulation of 169,000 is less than half of what it was when Barber took the top job, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations. Digital readership has swelled to a record of more one million paying customers across its digital platforms.

The paper posted operating profits of 25 million pounds on revenues of 383 million pounds in 2018, the company said. About 70% of readers are outside the UK.

In 2017 France awarded Barber the Legion d’honneur in 2017 in recognition of his contribution to journalism. The paper recently moved back to its historic headquarters, Bracken House, in the heart of London’s financial district.

Bloomberg competes with the Financial Times and Nikkei in business news publishing.