As Thomson departs, new generation takes over at 'The Times'

It was a day for meteoric career rises at The Times yesterday. The editor Robert Thomson's long-anticipated departure to head Rupert Murdoch's prized latest acquisition, the Wall Street Journal, stepped into first gear. And the newspaper's youthful business editor James Harding was propelled into the editor's shoes.

After five years at the helm of The Thunderer, Mr Thomson is leaving next week to become publisher of the Wall Street Journal, which is owned by Dow Jones.

Mr Harding, 38, will take over as editor with immediate effect, after the independent directors of Times Newspapers Holdings approved his promotion.

Mr Murdoch said: "Under Robert Thomson's leadership, The Times has gone from strength to strength and I am confident James is the editor to build on Robert's success. James has enjoyed an outstanding career as a correspondent and editorial executive. His experience working in Britain and around the world equips him ideally to take on the job of editing The Times."

The Australian-born Mr Thomson, 46, who will wish his staff farewell at a party on 20 December at Skylon at the Royal Festival Hall, played a key role in helping Mr Murdoch to buy the respected US business title. Mr Thomson become editor of The Times in 2002 after a spell at the Financial Times. During his time at the newspaper, he oversaw its transition from broadsheet to compact publication. A low-key, personable man, he is close to Mr Murdoch they speak on the phone most days.

His successor, James Harding, was part of Mr Thomson's clique at the Financial Times. Educated at St Paul's School in London, where he was a near contemporary of the shadow Chancellor George Osborne, and Trinity College, Cambridge, Mr Harding has a reputation as a fantastic schmoozer and is friendly with James Murdoch, who will be his boss in his new role as chairman and chief executive of News Corp in Europe and Asia.

Mr Harding is also renowned for his linguistic abilities. He is fluent in Japanese, Chinese, French and German. He joined the FT in 1994 as a corporate reporter and went on to run the Shanghai bureau from 1996 to 1999, and had stints as the paper's media editor and Washington bureau chief from 2002 to 2005.

As media editor of the FT in 2002, Mr Harding was given his first opportunity to impress Mr Murdoch when he interviewed him over a three-hour lunch at which they discussed everything from retirement to the mogul's relationship with God, touching on Bill Gates, the future of television, the British monarchy and the euro.

In August 2006, he was poached by Mr Thomson to head the business section of The Times. He is the latest in a series of business editors to climb into the editor's chair, following Will Lewis at the Daily Telegraph and Patience Wheatcroft, the recently deposed editor of the Sunday Telegraph, who was Harding's predecessor as business editor of The Times.

Mr Thomson paid tribute to his successor, saying: "I have cherished my time at The Times, which will be in the very capable hands of James Harding, one of the most outstanding British journalists of his generation."

James Murdoch, who is about to take the reins at News International, publisher of The Times, also had high praise for the newspaper's new editor. He said: "James is a tremendous journalist and executive there is no better choice to lead The Times in this exciting period. I've known, respected, and trusted James for years, and I'm looking forward to working with him."

For his part, Mr Harding said he was "delighted" to succeed Mr Thomson.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Sport
ESPN footage showed a split-screen Murray’s partner Kim Sears and Berdych’s partner Ester Satorova 'sporting' their jewellery
tennis
Arts and Entertainment
Cold case: Aaron McCusker and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvReview: Sky Atlantic's ambitious new series Fortitude has begun with a feature-length special
Voices
Three people wearing masks depicting Ed Miliband, David Cameron and Nick Clegg
voicesPolitics is in the gutter – but there is an alternative, says Nigel Farage
Voices
The veterans Mark Hayward, Hugh Thompson and Sean Staines (back) with Grayson Perry (front left) and Evgeny Lebedev
charity appealMaverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
News
i100
News
people
Sport
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho
footballThe more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Life and Style
Vote green: Benoit Berenger at The Duke of Cambridge in London's Islington
food + drinkBanishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turn over a new leaf
News
Joel Grey (left) poses next to a poster featuring his character in the film
peopleActor Joel Grey comes out at 82
News
i100
News
business
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Project Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This established Digital Agency based in East ...

Guru Careers: Sales Director / Business Development Manager

£35 - 45K + COMMISSION (NEG): Guru Careers: A Sales Director / Business Develo...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager - Manchester - Urgent Requirement!

£30000 - £35000 per annum + 20 days holidays & pension: Ashdown Group: Marketi...

Sauce Recruitment: Senior Management Accountant

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Sauce Recruitment: Working for a independently owne...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee