Ben Summerskill is to succeed Angela Mason as chief executive of gay lobby group Stonewall.
“Stonewall no longer just lobbies – something it does and has done supremely well,” said Summerskill, who is currently assistant editor of The Observer.
“It’s now widely engaged in social justice and cultural change, improving the lives of lesbians, gay men and bisexual people across Britain.
“Whether working for effective implementation of forthcoming fair employment legislation, developing good diversity practice in the workplace or working with lesbian, gay and bisexual communities, Stonewall is making a difference.”
Summerskill joined The Observer in 2000. He has also worked for the Daily Express, the Evening Standard and a range of magazines including The Pink Paper and Time Out.
Observer editor Roger Alton said: “We’re terribly sad to lose Ben. He has contributed a great deal to The Observer. However, Stonewall’s work is very valuable and I’m sure Ben will be a highly effective advocate for it.”
Stonewall chairman David Isaac said: “We’re absolutely delighted to have secured someone of Ben’s skills and background.”
Mason, Stonewall’s former executive director, has been appointed head of the women and equality unit at the Department of Trade and Industry.
Juliette Jowit, transport correspondent of the Financial Times, is to be the new transport and environment correspondent of The Observer. Observer editor Roger Alton said: “Juliette has been a superb reporter for the Financial Times and she will play a key part in our news coverage”. Jowit has been at the FT for six years.