The Independent’s editorial director for digital will stand down next year to join the Foreign and Commonwealth Office as its new head of digital engagement.
He will take up his new role in February, replacing Paul Bute, a career FCO diplomat, who currently leads the FCO’s digital activities.
Leach joined the Independent in June 2008 having worked as head of digital communications for Prime Ministers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, director of digital for Freud Communications and a variety of digital roles for the Guardian News and Media.
In his new post Leach will lead development of the diplomatic use of new media techniques which will include overseeing the FCO’s own 250-site web platform as well as tending to a growing number of blogging ministers and ambassadors and a wide set of digital campaigns.
At the Independent, Leach has signed a string of content deals, including with YouTube and France24, and relaunched Independent.co.uk’s blogging platform as a joint project with Russian-owned LiveJournal.