Shortly after 11 a.m. Monday Lebedev broke the news on Twitter. Rajan, formerly comment editor of The Independent, will immediately assume his new post. Former editor Chris Blackhurst will become Group Content Director, “overseeing integration and content creation across all titles,” Lebedev tweeted.
Oliver Duff will be promoted from news editor of The Independent to editor of i, and Lisa Markwell, former executive editor of The Independent on Sunday, will become the publication’s chief editor. Ian Walker, deputy editor of The London Evening Standard, will become group head of news. Sarah Sands will remain editor of Evening Standard.
“Our businesses are at a critical stage and a bold approach is needed for our industry. Today I am continuing this approach by appointing as editors two highly talented young journalists,” Lebedev said in an announcement. “Their energy, creativity and resourcefulness will invigorate both The Independent and i.”
Lebedev said these appointments will further his mission for integration of media, which began when Doug Wills was chosen as group managing editor, James Ashton as head of business and Neil Robinson as head of sport in 2011.
“Our goal is to develop a pioneering and integrated newsroom for the 21st century, providing print, digital and television output 24/7,” Lebedev said.
Rajan, whom Lebedev called an “exceptional young talent who will lead strongly,” was editor of “Independent Voices” and previously covered both news and sports for the titles. He writes columns for the Independent on Sunday, the Evening Standard, the Independent and i. He is also the author of Twirlymen: the Unlikely History of Cricket’s Greatest Spin Bowlers.
With two female editors and a minority editor, the Independent is defying the New Statesman’s report from last year which suggested British publications may be racist, the Huffington Post reported.
The restructuring, just two years after Blackhurst took the helm, was a shock to many, the Guardian reported.
“I thank him for all his work and leadership as Editor of @Independent,” Lebedev tweeted about Blackhurst. “Look forward to creating a 21st century media company with him.”
Photo: Amol Rajan. Courtesy of The Independent.