Simon Kelner has been replaced as editor of The Independent by Evening Standard business editor Chris Blackhurst.

Kelner is stepping down from his role as editor of the The Independent and its sister title i but will remain as editor-in-chief – but in this new role he will have no day-to day involvement with the papers.

Blackhurst, who was named business journalist of the year at the London Press Club awards 2011, was previously deputy editor of the The Independent and the Independent on Sunday before leaving to take up the same role at the Daily Express.

“Returning to The Independent as editor is very exciting,” Blackhurst said. “I’ve always had huge affection and regard for the staff there and the quality journalism they produce. The last nine years on the Evening Standard have been tremendously enjoyable.

‘I am grateful to [IPL owner] Evgeny Lebedev for giving me the chance now to take The Independent forward.”

Lebedev said: “I am very pleased to appoint Chris Blackhurst, whose talent, vision and energy will bring a new perspective to The Independent. I am confident he will make a distinct difference and strengthen the paper.”

He added: ‘Simon’s contribution to the Independent over the past 13 years has been considerable. Many of the best things that have happened at The Independent have been down to him.”

IPL managing director

Andrew Mullins, Managing Director of IPL, said: ‘Simon is one of a kind. He is an astonishing creative energy and force. IPL will be a very different place without him as Editor, but I very much look forward to working closely with Chris.’

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