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FT seeks new How To Spend It editor as Gillian de Bono steps down after 25 years

The Financial Times is advertising to fill “one of the top magazine jobs in journalism” as it looks to replace How To Spend It editor Gillian de Bono, who is stepping down after 25 years.

De Bono, also an assistant editor at the FT, is leaving the newspaper this summer to pursue “new challenges” in journalism and beyond, she said.

She joined the FT in 1994 to set up a magazine department after the success of a trial issue of How To Spend It, a luxury supplement to the FT Weekend, which she has continued to edit since.

De Bono (pictured) said: “There’s never an easy time for an editor to step down from a magazine she has loved to edit – or to leave a company she holds in such high regard.

“Many major talents have made invaluable contributions to the character and quality of How To Spend It over the past 25 years and I have forged some of the most extraordinarily gratifying relationships during this time.

“I hope at least some of these will continue as I look forward to new challenges that will take me in different directions and allow me to indulge more of my personal interests.”

An internal investigation last year cleared de Bono of bullying allegations after anonymous complaints from current and former How To Spend It staff were made through the FT’s whistleblowing policy.

De Bono has a reputation as a hard-working and demanding editor and is described on How To Spend It’s website as “our supremo”.

She has been thrice named editor of the year at the British Society of Magazine Editors and under her editorship How To Spend It has won Supplement of the Year at the Newsawards (which celebrates production and design) 15 times, most recently in 2017.

In a note to staff sent last month, FT editor Lionel Barber said de Bono’s departure “leaves open one of the top magazine jobs in journalism” and described her as a “great friend, colleague and outstanding editor”.

He added: “Gillian ranks among the top magazine editors of her generation, presiding over a pioneering large-format glossy magazine that has grown exponentially into a top-notch brand attracting a fiercely loyal readership around the world.

“Hugely respected, she possesses all the qualities of a successful editor: a meticulous attention to detail and design, especially the finely tuned headline, an unfailing appreciation of her readers and their interests and an unwavering commitment to world-class journalism.

“How To Spend It carries Gillian’s signature on every page. She combines eclectic irreverence with exotic diversion in design, fashion and travel. She has also assembled a stable of writers and editors that is the envy of the competition.”

Before joining the FT, de Bono spent 13 years launching, relaunching and editing glossy women’s magazines after starting her career at Which? Magazine publisher Consumers Association.

The FT is now advertising to replace de Bono with a senior magazine professional who has the necessary “leadership qualities to take the title forward in a new era”.

The magazine is published as a glossy supplement globally 34 times a year, with the core Saturday title joined by the odd Friday and themed editions.

It also has its own standalone website and an app, which is due to be relaunched soon.

The brand began as a single page in the FT in the Saturday edition of the newspaper more than 50 years ago before becoming an expanded section and then the large-format glossy magazine it is today from 1994.

FT How to Spend It themed edition How to Trend It.

Picture: Financial Times

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