Greig said he was “looking forward to leading the brilliant, independent and authoritative editorial team” at The Independent, which has nine bureaux around the world and publishes in six languages. He becomes editor-in-chief with immediate effect.
The Independent, which closed in print in 2016, has been led by acting editor David Marley for over two years since Christian Broughton moved from being editor to managing director.
In November it was the fifth biggest news website in the UK with an audience of 21.4 million according to the industry standard metric Ipsos iris, which put it behind only the BBC, Sun, Mirror and Mail Online.
Globally it ranks 36th in terms of English language news websites, according to Press Gazette’s ranking based on Similarweb data.
The Independent has put particular investment into growing in the US as well as channels like its video content on Independent TV, which launched at the end of 2020 and now claims to generate 72 million video views on the website.
Greig said in a statement: “The Independent is the UK’s leading quality digital title, outpacing The Guardian, Telegraph and Times. This sustained large-scale readership is a testament to The Independent’s commitment to truly independent, authoritative news coverage, and I look forward to leading the brilliant editorial team that is successfully making journalism a force for good. Unquestionably, given the world we live in, this has never been more important.”
The company has been in profit every year since it went digital-only, reaching a record £5.5m in operating profit in 2021. The site has however been hit by the downturn in digital advertising, with plans revealed in November to cut a fifth of staff.
Greig left the Daily Mail in November 2021 in a reshuffle that saw Mail on Sunday editor Ted Verity step up to lead a seven-day operation, with his former deputy David Dillon leading the weekly title under him.
After six years leading the Mail on Sunday, Greig succeeded long-time Daily Mail editor and his long-time rival Paul Dacre in 2018. The pair later traded public blows, with Greig claiming 256 advertisers had returned to the paper in his first year as editor and Dacre responding in a letter to the FT that he was “as economic with the actualité as your paper is in reporting matters Brexit”.
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Former Tatler editor Greig has previous experience at the titles of Evgeny Lebedev, proprietor of the Evening Standard and The Independent’s largest shareholder. Greig became editor of the Standard in 2009 and became editorial director of both titles a year later.
Independent Digital News and Media chairman John Paton said Greig’s return was a “defining moment” for The Independent “as we continue to focus on growing the business.
“Geordie has been the editor of three Fleet St papers and has a brilliant track record for building news brands that successfully deliver for their audiences, growing readership and audience engagement. Geordie’s experience will be critical as we look to further build news teams around the world to extend our global reach, whilst also maintaining the values and integrity of The Independent as we expand.”
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