By Alyson Fixter
Bill Emmott has stepped down as editor of The Economist after 13 years in the post, saying he had originally planned only to stay 10, but that things had been going "too well" to quit.
Emmott, whose whole 26-year career has been at the business and current affairs weekly, is moving on to focus on writing books, having published four while working at the magazine.
His successor will almost definitely be an internal candidate; the magazine has only appointed one external candidate — Alastair Burnett — in the past 50 years, and even he had a history at the title.
The Economist’s board of directors has begun the process of choosing a new editor, which is expected to take at least a month, and is considering up to six internal candidates. Emmott will remain in the post until the new editor is announced.
Emmott told Press Gazette: "I always thought 10 years was a good amount of time to be editing, but then things were so exciting and they were going so well, I couldn’t quite leave at 10 years.
"But the clock has been ticking since then."
He had also wanted to support recently appointed publisher Andrew Rashbass and get him settled in the post before resigning, he added.
Emmott is The Economist’s 15th editor, and in his time at the magazine has seen circulation double to just over a million.
He said: "I have had a fantastic time, doing what I think is the best job in journalism, editing the best current affairs publication in the world.
"Editorially and commercially, The Economist is in top form and in great hands, which makes it a good moment to go.
"The new editor is highly likely to be an internal candidate. People will apply from outside the magazine, but we have such a good slate of talent at the moment it would make sense to appoint someone internally."
He said he planned to write a book about the growing rivalry between China and Japan, and that he could not imagine himself wanting to be editor of any other publication, although he did hint at a possible consultant’s role in the future.
"I see myself basically as a writer, it’s what I’m good at and what I enjoy doing," he said.
"Around that I’ll look for other things where I could help organisations and companies."
Emmott is the longest-serving editor of The Economist since Geoffrey Crowther. He joined the magazine as a junior Brussels correspondent in 1980 and worked on its economics, Tokyo, finance and business affairs desks before being appointed editor in 1993.