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Financial Times Names First Female Editor-in-Chief in History–and She is Arab

Roula khalaf

Roula Khalaf. Photo by Charlie Bibby, The Financial Times

The Financial Times has named Lebanese Roula Khalaf editor-in-chief of its publication. Born and raised in Beirut, the French and Arabic speaker is the first female editor at the Financial Times since it was founded in 1888. She will succeed exiting editor-in-chief Lionel Barber who edited the paper for 14 years. Under his leadership, the FT reported a £25m profit in 2017 on revenues of £383m. Subscriptions account for an estimated 60 percent of content revenue; about 70 percent of readers are outside the UK. Khalaf, who served as his deputy, will take up the position in January 2020. Speaking at a press conference, Barber said of Khalaf, “She is fair, she is wise, and she is tough.”

Khalaf has served as deputy since 2016, overseeing operations of the FT‘s network of some 100 foreign correspondents. She led its Middle East coverage during the Iraq war and the Arab uprisings. She studied in America and went on to launch her journalism career as a business reporter at Forbes magazine. Chairman of Nikkei, the FT‘s proprietor since 2015, Tsuneo Kita, said that Khalaf had proved “her integrity, determination, and sound judgment” and that he has “full confidence that she will continue the FT’s mission to deliver quality journalist without fear and without favor.”

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