Roula Khalaf
Roula Khalaf

Roula Khalaf will become the first woman editor in the 131-year history of the Financial Times when she takes over for Lionel Barber early next year.

The 24-year veteran of the FT has been deputy editor since 2016, focused on newsroom strategic planning, new programs such as the Trade Secrets content vertical on global trade and diversity initiatives with an emphasis on increasing female staff and readership.

Earlier, Khalaf was foreign editor and head of editorial operations in Europe, Africa and the Middle East. She joined the FT from Forbes, where she was a staff writer in New York.

Barber led the FT's drive into digital publishing and developed a subscription base of more than 1M subscribers, of which 75 percent are online readers.

During his tenure, the FT ownership shifted from UK's Pearson to Japan's Nikkei Group in 2015.

In FT's announcement, Tsuneo Kita, chairman of Nikkei, praised Khalaf's integrity, determination and sound judgment.

He's certain she will carry out the FT's mission "to deliver quality journalism without fear and without favor."

Barber, 64, held the top editor job since 2005. After working at the Scotsman and Sunday Times, Barber joined the FT in 1985. He was DC correspondent, Brussels bureau chief, news editor and US managing editor.