The award-winning journalist Chris Blackhurst is the new editor of The Independent, the paper's owners Independent Print Limited announced yesterday. He replaces Simon Kelner, the longest-serving editor in the newspaper's history.
Blackhurst joins from the London Evening Standard where he was City editor and a columnist. He is a former deputy editor of The Independent, The Independent on Sunday and the Daily Express.
"Returning to The Independent as editor is very exciting," he said. "I've always had huge affection and regard for the staff there and the quality journalism they produce."
Blackhurst was named Best City Editor by the London Press Club this year. Earlier in his career he was Westminster correspondent for The Independent for four years and before that a member of The Sunday Times Insight investigations team.
Kelner is best known for having relaunched The Independent in compact format in 2003, a radical move that was imitated by newspapers all over the world. The successful transition led to him being named Editor of the Year for a second time at the What The Papers Say Awards and The Independent winning Newspaper of the Year at the British Press Awards and the London Press Club awards in 2004. Under his leadership, the newspaper pioneered the use of single-issue front pages. It took a principled stand against the Iraq war, and was singled out by Tony Blair in his 2007 speech attacking the "feral beast" of the media. Kelner has twice been named Editor of the Year by GQ magazine. Last year he oversaw the successful launch of i, the first national newspaper to be introduced in Britain in 25 years.
Yesterday Evgeny Lebedev, chairman of Independent Print Limited, said: "Simon's contribution to The Independent over the past 13 years has been considerable. Many of the best things that have happened at The Independent have been down to him."
Kelner said yesterday: "It has been an utter privilege to edit such a great newspaper and work with such fantastic people. I wish Chris and everyone who works for The Independent the very best for the future."