Ahmed takes over as head of news

After returning from three months working on dummies of the new Berliner-size Observer , the paper’s political editor Kamal Ahmed has been promoted to executive editor, news.

He takes over from Andy Malone who walked out a month ago after six years in the job, leading to reports that there had been a spat between him and Ahmed.

Although Malone’s exit followed a weekend in which Ahmed had leapfrogged him to be acting deputy editor, insiders say the pair have not fallen out and remain good friends.

According to Observer editor Roger Alton, Malone will remain associated with the title and will be “writing across the paper from the New Year”.

Ahmed, 36, began his career at the Lennox Herald in Dunbarton after training at City University. He stayed for 18 months before going to Scotland on Sunday in 1993. He then joined The Guardian as a general reporter in 1996 – becoming media correspondent in 1997 and then media editor in 1998. He joined The Observer as political editor in 2000.

Although his new job title is executive editor, news, he is effectively news editor.

Speaking about the planned format change in 2006 he said: “It will be an exciting opportunity not just for me, but for all us, to go back to basics about what a Sunday newspaper is.”

He said no firm decisions have yet been taken on what changes are to be made to The Observer as part of the 2006 re-launch but a range of options, some radical, are being considered.

He added: “It is a great privilege to be able to tackle such an important job for The Observer . It’s an incredibly exciting time to be working here and I am delighted to be part of the team.”

By Dominic Ponsford

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