Simon Kelner, managing director and editor-in-chief of the Independent, says on the Indy's website: “Ian has been a highly effective deputy editor and has made an enormous contribution to the Independent’s success over the years. His energy, vision and acumen have been felt across the paper, and he has always been a supportive colleague to me in often challenging times. We are extremely sorry to see him go, but wish him the very best in the future.”
Birrell added: “I have hugely enjoyed working with some of the most talented journalists in Britain, but now feel the time is right for a change. It has been hard work, but usually great fun and never less than exciting. It has been a privilege to have played a central role for more than a decade and I wish the titles and all the staff every success for the future.”
Lebedev is reported to be lookingto appoint a high profile "celebrity editor" if he takes control of the Independent.
- According to The Times today the Lebedev deal for The Independent is already done.