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Guardian deputy editor Paul Johnson to retire after 'mighty' 40 years

Guardian deputy editor Paul Johnson will retire later this year after 40 years at the newspaper.

Johnson, also the title’s head of news, business and sport, will step down in the autumn, staff were told yesterday.

He said: “In the time I’ve been at The Guardian – a very long time – there have been dramatic changes: a 16 page newspaper has become a terrific tabloid with a website attracting 10m people a day; the operation has literally gone global – and the commitment to journalism is as passionate as ever.

“I’ve had the incredible good fortune to work alongside the best, most committed editors, journalists and colleagues in the world. It’s been a privilege.”

Guardian editor-in-chief Katharine Viner described Johnson’s four-decade long career at the newspaper since 1979 as “mighty”.

The pair are understood to have been close colleagues, with Johnson playing a key role in her campaign to succeed former editor Alan Rusbridger in 2015.

Johnson is a pivotal figure in the day-to-day running of the Guardian newsroom who has proven especially important during Viner’s editorship as she only has one deputy where Rusbridger had three.

Viner said: “Paul played a significant role in every big story that we’ve done since 1979, from Jonathan Aitken to phone hacking, Windrush to Snowden, and covered every big incident, from IRA bombings to 9/11, Hillsborough to Grenfell, the Iraq war to Brexit, under six (soon to be seven) prime ministers and 12 leaders of the opposition.

“His dynamism, judgment and commitment have helped make the Guardian what it is today.

“Of course we’re planning a massive send-off for later in the year, so there will be lots of opportunity to thank Paul for his incredible contribution to the success of the Guardian.”

Johnson’s previous roles at the Guardian include Irish correspondent, news editor and assistant editor. He was appointed deputy editor in 1995 under Rusbridger.

Among his most noteworthy contributions are his work leading the newspaper’s teams reporting on both the US intelligence documents shared by Edward Snowden and the Panama Papers offshore tax investigation.

A Guardian spokesperson told Press Gazette that any further announcements relating to the appointment of Johnson’s successor will come at a later date.

Internal speculation over a possible successor has already begun, with ten names suggested to Press Gazette along with the question of whether there could be a restructure with more than one deputy appointed.

Picture: Guardian News and Media

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