Fairfax Media has announced the appointment of James Chessell as group executive editor for Australian metro publishing, effective immediately.
Chessell will lead editorial teams at Fairfax’s capital city mastheads, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, The Canberra Times, the Brisbane Times, WAtoday, and Life Media.
He was previously the national editor of The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age with responsibility for federal politics, business and world coverage.
Fairfax’s managing director of Australian metro publishing, Chris Janz, said: “James is a journalist and editor of remarkable talent.
“He’s one of Australia’s best business journalists with extensive international experience, and an insider’s knowledge of the local and global political landscape.
“James brings a new energy to our newsroom leadership. He will be unrelenting in pursuing our strategic mission to deliver agenda-setting journalism that sets us apart and is valued by our readers.
“I’m confident this will allow us to continue growing our subscriber and engaged reader base, while always safeguarding the editorial independence of our titles.”
Commenting on his promotion, Chessell said: “I am thrilled to be leading Fairfax’s metro newsrooms. It is a tremendous honour and responsibility. Our journalists are some of the most accomplished and experienced in the country.
“The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age play a vital role in the daily life of Sydney, Melbourne and the nation. Life Media has also proven to be an editorial and commercial powerhouse.
“The metro mastheads have a long and proud history of producing quality, independent and agenda-setting journalism.
“Faith in many public institutions is not at record highs, making it more important than ever we continue to break news, produce insightful comment and analysis, and write about the issues of importance to our audiences.”
Fairfax has commenced a recruitment process for Chessell’s replacement as national editor.