Matthew d’Ancona is stepping down from his job as editor of The Spectator after three and a half years in the post at the end of next week to “pursue other interests”.
He will continue to write a weekly column for the Sunday Telegraph.
He is to be replaced by Fraser Nelson, the magazine’s political editor who joined the title from The Scotsman in February 2006.
D’Ancona said: “After more than three and a half delightful and rewarding years as editor, exciting opportunities are arising and I have decided to move on.
“Like the role of Bond or Doctor Who, the Spectator editorship is a precious trust to be held for a limited period of time, and I had always envisaged moving on once my goals were achieved.
“The media is changing at an extraordinary pace and I now want to take on fresh challenges – about which I plan to say more in due course. Meanwhile, I would like to thank my wonderful colleagues from the bottom of my heart and to pay tribute to them for their friendship, loyalty and magnificent work.”
D’Ancona, 41, joined the Spectator from the Sunday Telegraph where he was deputy editor.
In the first six months of this year sales of The Spectator were down 2.4 per cent to just over 75,000.
New Spectator editor Nelson, 36, said: “I am thrilled to succeed Matthew in the editor’s chair and am proud to have been part of the team he has built in the last few years. His legacy is a magazine which has more verve, clout and readers than ever before – and with as much presence online as on the newsstands. Following Matthew will be an awesome task, but one made easier by what he has accomplished.
“Against the cacophony of the 24 hour news era, there has never been a greater need for what The Spectator offers: wit, style, mischief, elegance of thought and independence of opinion.
“As editor I will aim to protect and project its unique voice, combining the best literary and arts coverage in Britain with agenda-setting analysis. To edit The Spectator is, quite simply, the greatest honour in journalism and I hugely look forward to what lies ahead.”