The move followed a fall in the paper's UK circulation over the past five years, and what some commentators have suggested is a loss of authority in the City. However, Pearson, the owner, signalled its continuing commitment to internat-ional expansion by replacing him with Lionel Barber, who runs the paper's operation in the US.
The newspaper's full cover-price circulation in the UK is now well below 100,000 and it suffered a drop in advertising with the bursting of the dotcom bubble in 2000.
Mr Gowers, 48, had been in the top job for four years. His two immediate predecessors lasted 10 years each.
He told The Independent: "I've steered the newspaper through the four worst years in its history. And it's intact."
He said that editors were confronted with the problem of having to produce a paper that appealed both to a British audience and to an international one. "It's like riding two horses at once," he said.
Mr Barber, 50, is seen as a great social networker and is more outgoing than Mr Gowers. He told his journalists: "We should not be too broad and should choose our own battleground. We should produce unmissable content because that's what makes us different."Reuse content