Jasper Gerard out in Observer reshuffle

In his first week as editor, John Mulholland has announced a shake-up of The Observer editorial team.

Former news editor of the Sunday and Daily Morror and head of news at the Sunday Telegraph Chris Boffey has been made news editor. He effectively replaces Kamal Ahmed who left the paper in November.

Paul Webster will be sole deputy editor with special responsibility for home, foreign and business news and comment.

Nicola Jeal, currently editor of The Observer Food Monthly and Observer Woman, has beens promoted to head of Observer Magazines. She will oversee the weekly Observer Magazine and act in an advisory role for the other monthly magazines.

Former Guardian columnist Catherine Bennett is to write a column in the news section from January 13. Existing columnist Barbara Ellen will begin a new column in the news section on the same day.

Books editor Robert McCrum is promoted to assistant editor (books) and will write a weekly literary column as well as contributing across the paper in Comment, Review and Observer Magazine.

Assistant editor Robert Yates will take on extra duties to oversee the Review and Escape sections and help Mulholland oversee Observer Sport Monthly and Observer Music Monthly.

Cash and Deputy Personal Finance Editor Liza Batchelor becomes Consumer Affairs Correspondent, writing for the news section and Alice Fisher, commissioning editor for Observer Magazine, becomes style correspondent and will work for the news section, as well as the Magazine.

Columnist Jasper Gerard is leaving the paper after just over a year. He was hired in November 2006 from the Sunday Times where he was a diarist and chief interviewer.

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