Economist chooses Minton Beddoes as first female editor

Image copyright Economist
Image caption Zanny Minton Beddoes has been appointed editor of the Economist

The Economist has named a female editor for the first time in its 172-year history.

Zanny Minton Beddoes will take over as the 17th editor of the weekly title, which calls itself a newspaper.

She succeeds John Micklethwait, who became editor in 2006 and resigned to join Bloomberg as editor-in-chief.

Ms Minton Beddoes was business affairs editor, overseeing the business, finance, economics, science and technology coverage.

The 47-year-old has also been economics editor of the Economist, which she joined in 1994 after a two-year stint as an economist at the International Monetary Fund.

Rupert Pennant-Rea, chairman of the Economist Group and a former editor of the publication, said Ms Minton Beddoes was a "fine leader, with long experience on the paper. She will be a true advocate for The Economist and its values".

She said the title was "one of journalism's great institutions, with an extraordinarily talented staff".

The Oxford and Harvard educated journalist takes up her new role on February 2.

Collegiate atmosphere

Thirteen candidates applied for the editorship - one of the most prestigious jobs in journalism - including two outsiders even though it was not advertised externally.

Tom Standage, digital editor of The Economist, and foreign editor Edward Carr, were also shortlisted for the role.

Image copyright Economist
Image caption The current issue of the Economist

Bill Emmott, editor from 1993 and 2006, told the Financial Times that the preference for insiders reflected its collegiate atmosphere: "It is a collective operation, a little bit like the College of Cardinals."

Under Mr Micklethwait, weekly circulation rose by 500,000 copies to 1.6m, but fell for the first time in at least 15 years in 2014.

As well as controlling the weekly magazine and its website, Ms Minton Beddoes will oversee its commercial research operation, the Economist Intelligence Unit.

Operating profits at the Economist Group have doubled since 2006 to £59m.

Fifty per cent of the group is controlled by Pearson, owner of the FT, with the remainder held by individual shareholders including the Cadbury, Rothschild, Schroder and other family interests, as well as a number of staff and former employees.

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