Former BBC News website editor Pete Clifton named new Press Association editor-in-chief ahead of Jonathan Grun departure

Former BBC News website editor Pete Clifton has been named as the new editor-in-chief of Press Association.

He will be tasked with leading the “continuing transformation of the agency into a digital-focused multi-platform news and information business”.

Clifton, who left the BBC in April 2011 to become executive producer of MSN UK, will replace Jonathan Grun on 1 January.

Grun announced in July that he is to retire next May after 36 years at PA, including 14 years as editor-in-chief. He will step down from this role in December to become emeritus editor for his last five months.

Clifton announced he was stepping down from MSN at the beginning of September, saying: “Time for next adventure.”

At MSN, he led a 70-strong editorial team “managing content for one of the country’s leading portals”.

He was at the BBC for 15 years before taking redundancy in 2011. In that time, he was head of editorial development, head of news interactive, editor of the BBC News website, editor of the BBC Sport site and editor of Ceefax.

Previously, he worked for PA in the mid-1990s, first as chief sports sub-editor and then as editor of the agency’s Teletext service.

Tony Watson, managing director of PA, said: “Pete Clifton has a reputation in the industry as an editorial heavyweight and we are delighted to have appointed him to this key position. He joins PA at an exciting time, when the opportunities and challenges presented by huge changes in news consumption are encouraging tremendous innovation and creativity in story-telling.  He will bring to the role an impressive combination of editorial judgement, digital insight, and the leadership qualities to bring about the changes necessary to remain relevant in a rapidly evolving media market.

Clifton said: "I am thrilled to have this opportunity to lead the PA's editorial operations. As someone who has worked for PA and also been a customer, I am passionate about its reputation for fast, fair and accurate journalism. I look forward to helping PA prosper at the heart of the UK's media landscape in the digital age."

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