Roger Alton to join The Times

Roger Alton, former editor of The Independent and The Observer, is to join The Times as an executive editor.

Alton, who will join the News International title in July, left his post as editor of The Independent last month as Russian billionaire Alexander Lebedev took control of the publication and its sister paper, The Independent on Sunday.

He was replaced by Simon Kelner, managing director and editor-in-chief of The Independent, who took control of the paper for the second time.

Alton, 62, joined the Independent as editor in 2008, five months after he finished a ten-year stint as editor of The Observer and replacing Kelner, who had been editor for almost ten years.

James Harding, editor of The Times, told staff in an internal briefing: “Roger is one of the true greats of British journalism.

“He is an exceptionally talented editor with an extraordinary ability to create passionate, fascinating, powerful papers.

“He has fearlessly led news teams at both The Observer and The Independent with a special understanding of what drives a newsroom and what stories matter.

“I am delighted, and enormously excited, that Roger is joining The Times.”

Alton will takeover from Alex O’Connell who is appointed arts editor. In his new role he will work with deputy editor Keith Blackmore and Daniel Finkelstein, the other executive editor.

The announcement about Alton joining The Times came as the paper launched its new website – in preparation for the introduction of its paywall next month – and almost a fortnight after Harding briefed staff on plans to cut up to 50 posts and reduce its editorial budget by around ten per cent to stem “unsustainable losses”.

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