Gowers reveals plans for major FT expansion in US

Lionel Barber

Financial Times editor Andrew Gowers has announced a long-range expansion plan for the paper in the US.

Gowers told Press Gazette: "We see growth as far as the eye can see and our medium-term target in the US is a quarter of a million over the next five years."

The plan was revealed as Lionel Barber, the paper’s Continental European edition editor, clinched the job of US managing editor.

Gowers is also to expand his Asia team under a new editor, based in Hong Kong, and will make appointments in the next few months.

Barber will have responsibility for the FT’s US edition and all aspects of US print and online editorial operations.

He will take up his post in May when he replaces Robert Thomson, the new editor of The Times.

Gowers laid out his strategy: "We have come from 30,000 circulation five years ago in the US to now pushing 150,000, and that demands more attention and resources to keep it going because we think the potential is huge." The US operation is now so important to the FT that it will have more than 70 people there.

Gowers expects his staff to work globally for the UK, for Europe and the US as an integrated team.

With Barber will go some experienced FT hands.

l In the newly created post of New York news editor will be David Wighton, currently financial news editor in London. He has been with the FT since 1994 and worked on the business section of The Daily Telegraph before that. At the FT he has reported on companies and had a senior news editing role.

l Vincent Boland, capital markets editor in London, will take overall charge of capital markets on both sides of the Atlantic from New York.

l Caroline Daniel, IT correspondent, and Jeremy Grant, European corporate news, go to Chicago from London.

Moves within the US mean Richard Waters, who covers IT and telecoms in New York, is moving to the West Coast to take up a new position as managing editor there, reporting to Barber. He’s been with the FT since 1987.

Gerry Baker, Washington bureau chief, is becoming chief US commentator and an associate editor of the paper.

For the moment, because there is an FT recruitment freeze still in place, Gowers does not envisage bringing in anyone from outside the paper to fill the vacancies.

"We have such a strong reserve of talent we feel we can gear ourselves up for the next stage of expansion on our internal resources," he said.

"The important message is that we are growing right the way through the downturn and we are acting very fast to move with our markets."

By Jean Morgan

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