Evening Standard acting editor Charlotte Ross leaves paper after 16 years

Evening Standard acting editor Charlotte Ross leaves paper after 16 years

Evening Standard acting editor Charlotte Ross

Evening Standard acting editor Charlotte Ross is leaving the newspaper.

Her exit means the Evgeny Lebedev-owned Evening Standard has its fourth editor or acting editor in just over two years following the departures of George Osborne and Emily Sheffield.

Deputy editor Jack Lefley has been appointed as the next acting editor. He has been at the Standard for more than 16 years after joining as a reporter in 2006 before moving onto roles including news editor, head of news and executive editor.

Evening Standard chief executive Charles Yardley said: “We will greatly miss the ideas, focus, intelligence and energy that Charlotte brought to the Standard. She is a fantastic team player with an entrepreneurial approach and clear editorial vision that have been central to the business for a long time. I wish her well in the next chapter of her brilliant career.”

Ross (pictured) joined the Standard in 2006 as executive features editor under editor Veronica Wadley before becoming executive editor under Geordie Greig and deputy editor for both Sarah Sands and Osborne. She took up the new role of publisher upon the appointment of Sheffield in July 2020 and then became acting editor 15 months later.

She said: “The Evening Standard is quite simply an iconic brand with a brilliant team of journalists – past and present – who I love, respect and have enjoyed working with enormously.

“It has been an immense privilege to work here during such a key part of my professional life. There has never been a dull day. I will miss it hugely.”

A spokesperson for the Standard described Ross as an “editorial powerhouse and visionary leader across print and digital”. In her role of publisher she led the integration of the print and online teams as the Standard moved to a digital-first model.

Ex-Conservative Chancellor Osborne became Standard editor in May 2017 and lasted just over three years. Sheffield, a former British Vogue deputy editor and sister-in-law of ex-Conservative PM David Cameron, took over in July 2020 and stayed at the helm for 15 months. Ross then took the helm.

Telegraph political journalist Christopher Hope wrote at the weekend of rumours that Boris Johnson, whose time as PM will end on 5 September, “might ‘do a George Osborne’ and become editor of the London Evening Standard, owned by his close pal Lord Lebedev”.

Earlier this month the Evening Standard reported a pre-tax loss of £14m in 2021 in its fifth consecutive year in the red. The newspaper has lost almost £70m in total over the past five years.

The Standard’s free distribution model was hit hard by Covid-19 due to a drop in commuter footfall and a difficult print advertising market. It did experiment with introducing home delivery for the first time during the pandemic but its print distribution has settled between 400,000 and 500,000 – down from around the 800,000 mark before March 2020.

The Standard’s website was the 19th biggest UK digital newsbrand in May 2022 according to Press Gazette’s latest top 50 ranking, with a monthly  audience of 10.3 million.

Correction: This article initially stated that Charlotte Ross was leaving suddenly and with immediate effect. In fact, she is staying on until early August to help with the transition.

Picture: Evening Standard/Matt Writtle

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