Keith Ridley, who has been at the helm of the Observer for the past six years, is leaving his role at the end of January.
As editor-in-chief for Johnston Press in East Sussex, Keith has been responsible for the Herald and Gazette in Eastbourne, as well as the Hastings Observer series in Hastings, Bexhill, Rye and Battle, and latterly, the Sussex Express.
His departure on January 30 will bring to an end a 42-year career in local newspapers and media, which began in Northamptonshire and saw him editing his home town newspaper, the Daventry Express, at the age of 21.
He then edited the Rugby Advertiser before moving to the south coast to join the daily newspaper, the Portsmouth News, where he held various posts including news and features editor, associate editor, deputy editor and newspaper sales and promotions director.
He first came to Eastbourne in 2001 as managing director of T.R. Beckett, the Johnston Press subsidiary company which managed the Observer.
Four years later he moved within the company to become managing director of Central Counties Newspapers, based in Aylesbury with responsibility for newspapers and websites across Buckinghamshire, Northamptonshire, Warwickshire and Oxfordshire.
When he came back to East Sussex six years ago, it was a return to his editorial roots.
“My entire working life has been spent at the heart of local communities. It really has been a privilege and particularly so in East Sussex, which has such a fantastic community ethos.”
Keith will continue to be involved with the Observer as a part-time consultative editor.
Keith lives at Friston with his wife, Amanda, who works as a dental surgeon in both Eastbourne and St Leonards.
The new editor-in-chief of the Observer series of newspapers will be Gary Shipton.
Gary has over 25 years’ experience of editing newspapers in West Sussex and currently leads titles including the West Sussex County Times, the West Sussex Gazette, the Worthing Herald, and Chichester Observer.