Gallagher, 58, who has served as deputy editor since 2020, has started in the role with immediate effect.
It marks his third national newspaper editing job. He led The Daily Telegraph between 2009 and 2014, and The Sun between 2015 and 2020.
Gallagher also worked at the Daily Mail over two stints. Between 1990 and 2006, he rose from reporter to assistant editor. He briefly served as a deputy editor between his jobs at the Telegraph and Sun.
[Read more: Who are the UK’s national newspaper editors?]
Gallagher transferred from The Sun to The Times in early 2020. He has effectively been caretaker editor since June, when Witherow, 70, went on medical leave. Before that, Witherow worked four-day weeks, leaving Gallagher to take charge of the Monday and Tuesday editions of the newspaper.
In a statement on Wednesday, Rupert Murdoch, executive chairman of News Corp, said: “Tony is an exceptional editor with an expert and experienced eye on creating the best news package. His deft approach will be an asset to The Times in the years ahead.”
Robert Thomson, chief executive of News Corp, said: “Tony is a journalist of integrity and ingenuity. He cherishes the objective of objectivity and has a sophisticated understanding of contemporary digital content at a moment of extraordinary opportunity for The Times, whose reach and resonance grow with each passing day.”
Rebekah Brooks, chief executive of News UK, said: “Tony has a peerless record of leadership across Fleet Street and, as deputy editor of The Times, he has shown tremendous skill, commitment and passion. I know he will approach the editorship with great energy. Tony’s dedication to journalism and exceptional storytelling will make him a great leader for the paper as it continues to evolve.”
Gallagher said: “I am delighted and enormously proud to take on the editorship of The Times, the first paper I subscribed to as a teenage schoolboy. I am acutely conscious of the heritage of The Times but the title also has an exciting future.
“We have made significant strides with our digital transition – and there are more to come – but world-class storytelling will always be at the heart of what we do. With the most talented newsroom on Fleet Street, I am confident we can succeed in delivering for Times readers. Thank you to Rupert, Robert and Rebekah for their faith in me.”
Chris Longcroft, EVP, publisher, Times Newspapers, said: “The Times is in its strongest financial position for decades, which allows us to invest in our digital business as we grow subscriptions and grow advertising. With Tony as editor, our newsroom, our readers and our future readers are in very capable hands.”
Emma Tucker, editor of The Sunday Times, was also heavily linked to The Times job over the summer. There are internal rumours that she could now move to a senior role at News Corp’s Wall Street Journal. If Tucker does transfer to New York, Sunday Times deputy editor Ben Taylor, an old Daily Mail ally of Gallagher, would be a strong candidate to replace her.
Earlier this year, Boris Johnson’s government lifted legal restrictions that preserved the independence of The Times and Sunday Times. Several departments now work as one, including sports, money and travel, and the newspapers have operated on the same floor of the News Building since 2021.
Gallagher and other Times leaders are understood to support the ongoing independence of the titles, especially in news, believing any move towards a full merger would damage the appeal of The Sunday Times. But they feel there will be room for some departments, like business and arts, to share more resources.
Some Times staff fear that Gallagher, who is seen as an “old-school” editor, will be overly focused on The Times newspaper at a time when News Corp is prioritising online growth and digital subscriptions.
But allies of Gallagher say his main focus will be on the digital side of the business, and that News Corp would not have promoted him to editor if this was not the case. As deputy, Gallagher changed the structure of news conferences around a year ago to prioritise website planning.
Tony Gallagher’s CV
Education: Finchley Catholic High School, University of Bristol (undergraduate, English), City University (postgraduate, journalism)
1985-87: Trainee reporter, Southern Evening Echo, Southampton
1987-88: Reporter, South West News Agency, Bristol
1988-90: Reporter, Today (former newspaper), London
1990-2006: Reporter, news editor, assistant editor, Daily Mail
2006-07: Head of news, The Daily Telegraph
2007-09: Deputy editor, The Daily Telegraph
2009-14: Editor, The Daily Telegraph
2014-15: Chef, Moro
2015-2015: Deputy editor, Daily Mail
2015-2020: Editor, The Sun
2020-2022: Deputy editor, The Times
2022-present: Editor, The Times
Personal life: Married with three children, West Ham United supporter
Picture: News UK
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