Bill Emmott, editor of The Economist, announced yesterday that he plans to step down after 13 years in his post, and a total of 26 years at The Economist.
"I have had a fantastic time, doing what I think is the best job in journalism, editing the best current affairs publication in the world, and simply feel that it is time for a change. Editorially and commercially, The Economist is in top form and in great hands, which makes it a good moment to go," said Bill Emmott.
He told staff that he planned to return to writing books, in particular a work he already has under way about the growing rivalry between China and Japan, while also looking for other new adventures.
Emmott continued, "I now intend to concentrate on writing books. I've got several planned... In due course I may take up other posts but I can't imagine wanting to be editor of any other publication. The Economist is the best there is, and being editor of it has, for me, been the best possible job." And he went on to tell his staff, "There will be plenty of time for goodbyes before I leave, but for now suffice it to say that working with you all - editorial staff, commercial colleagues and the Group as a whole - has been a wonderful experience. The mixture of talent, hard work and laughter that is found at this company is unbeatable."
Sir Robert Wilson, chairman of The Economist Group said, "Bill is stepping down after nearly 13 years as a highly successful editor of The Economist. During this period, circulation of the newspaper more than doubled to well over one million copies a week. He achieved this while setting ever-higher standards of analysis and commentary for the paper. He will surely be remembered as one of the great editors of The Economist."
Bill Emmott was appointed in March 1993 to become the 15th editor since The Economist was founded in 1843, and is the longest-serving since Geoffrey Crowther (1938-56). He joined The Economist in 1980 as a junior Brussels correspondent, following which he has been economics correspondent, Tokyo correspondent (1983-86), finance editor (1986-89) and business affairs editor (1989-93). He is the author or co-author of six books, four of them about Japan. He is 49.
The worldwide ABC circulation of The Economist in July-December 1992 was 510,178. In the latest worldwide audit period (July-Dec 2005) it is estimated to have been 1,057,720. The breakdown of that figure is 158,142 in Britain (up 61.62% since Jul-Dec 92); 213,101 in continental Europe (up 91.56%); 117,247 in Asia Pacific (up 119.87%); and 25,634 in MEA (up 78.06%). North American July-December 2005 circulation audit figures have not yet been released, but the Jan-June 2005 audit statement showed an average total paid circulation of 523,057, up 137% from the same period in 1992. Central and South America ABC figures are not yet available.
A new editor will be chosen by The Economist Group board of directors, subject to approval by the company's four independent trustees. There is a three-stage process: first interviews by a board sub-committee; second interviews of the shortlist by the full board of directors; and lastly oversight by the trustees.
(February 21st 2006)