Mr Whittam Smith said: 'Ian Hargreaves was the first and the unanimous choice of the directors. He will bring a fresh approach to the newspaper. As chairman I shall give Ian all the support I can.' Mr Whittam Smith said he will be working as a part-time chairman.
Mr Hargreaves said he looked forward to building on the paper's tradition of independence of thought and fair reporting which were 'never more important than they are today'. Mr Hargreaves, an English graduate of Queens' College, Cambridge, was born in Lancashire, and educated at Burnley Grammar School. He has been deputy editor of the Financial Times since 1990. He joined the paper in 1976 after training on the Keighley News. In 1987 he was recruited by John Birt, then deputy director-general of the BBC, to implement radical changes in news and current affairs, emphasising a renewed commitment by the Corporation to impartiality and specialist coverage.
Mr Hargreaves added: 'The Independent is a free voice in British journalism at a time when the media is increasingly dominated by the overweening whims and prejudices of media barons. I regard it as an honour as well as a challenge to build upon the great tradition established by the newspaper's founders.'
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