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Guardian's Owen Gibson named new deputy editor in editorial shake-up

The Guardian has announced a series of senior editorial appointments to take effect when its deputy editor Paul Johnson steps down next month after 40 years at the newspaper.

Owen Gibson (pictured), currently the title’s head of national news, will replace Johnson as deputy editor in January.

Gibson will be responsible for day-to-day digital output, the weekday paper, investigations, production, and sport.

He will also oversee reader relationships, including memberships. The title is aiming to have 2m financial supporters by 2022.

Guardian head of investigations Nick Hopkins will become executive editor for news, responsible for national, international, financial and science and environment news, and all the brand’s data journalism.

Digital platforms editor Caspar Llewellyn Smith will become director of digital strategy to lead the “ongoing digital transformation” of the Guardian and Observer as well as all digital strategy, new product development and editorial innovation.

Head of features Kira Cochrane will be responsible for all digital features output, G2 on weekdays, the Saturday newspaper, arts and lifestyle in her new role of executive editor, features.

All four will join Guardian editor-in-chief Katharine Viner and managing editor Jan Thompson on the Guardian’s executive editorial team.

Viner said: “I am delighted to appoint this new leadership team for the Guardian.

“Owen, Nick, Kira and Caspar are outstanding journalists and editors, each with a deep understanding of the Guardian and our readers.

“As we enter a new decade, this team will bring fresh stories, ideas and innovations across the whole of the Guardian.”

Viner also revealed that Paul Lewis will become head of investigations while Anushka Asthana will become an editor-at-large but continue to present the Guardian’s Today in Focus podcast. Both are currently associate editors.

Johnson is also the Guardian’s head of news, business and sport. Staff were initially told he planned to step down in the autumn.

He 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.

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

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