Lionel Barber

Lionel Barber (born 18 January 1955)[2] is an English journalist. He has been editor of the Financial Times since November 2005. Earlier in his career, he worked at The Scotsman and The Sunday Times, but was employed in a number of senior posts at the Financial Times from the mid-1980s.

Lionel Barber
Barber at the Boldness in Business Awards 2013 in London
Born (1955-01-18) January 18, 1955[1]
EducationDulwich College
Alma materSt Edmund Hall, Oxford
TitleEditor of the Financial Times (2005–2020)

Early life

Barber was born on 18 January 1955 to a journalist father.[3] He was educated at Dulwich College, an independent school for boys in Dulwich in South London and at St Edmund Hall, Oxford, graduating in 1978 with a joint honours degree in German and modern history.


Barber began his career in journalism in 1978 as a reporter for The Scotsman. In 1981, after being named Young Journalist of the Year in the British Press Awards, he moved to The Sunday Times, where he was a business correspondent.[4] The co-writer of several books, his works includes a history of Reuters news agency (The Price of Truth, 1985) and the Westland affair (Not with Honour, 1986).

Barber's positions at the Financial Times have included Washington correspondent and US editor (1986–1992), Brussels bureau chief (1992–1998), and news editor (1998–2000). He was formerly the editor of the Financial Times Continental European edition (2000–2002), during which he briefed US President George W. Bush ahead of his first trip to Europe.

In November 2005, he was appointed editor of the Financial Times.[5]

In his capacity as editor, Barber interviewed figures including Barack Obama, Wen Jiabao, Dmitry Medvedev, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, Angela Merkel, David Cameron and Manmohan Singh.[6]

In October 2018, he said it was "time for a revolution" at the newspaper after sharing a reader's letter that criticised it for a "lack of diversity" among its columnists.[7]

He will step down in January 2020 after 34 years at the title, having served as editor for 14 years.[8] He will be succeeded by Roula Khalaf.


In July 2012, Barber was accused of intimidating and threatening a member of staff at the Financial Times. Steve Lodge, who worked as a personal finance writer at the newspaper, was brought before a disciplinary panel following an incident in which the Financial Times claimed demonstrated he "had a problem working for women". Barber was accused of "losing his temper and raising his voice" in a manner that breached the newspaper's procedures.[9]

Awards and recognition

Barber has received a number of awards and distinctions for his journalistic work.[10]

In 1981, he was named Young Journalist of the Year in the British Press Awards. In 1998, he was named one of the 101 most influential Europeans by Le Nouvel Observateur.

In 1985, he was the Laurence Stern fellow at The Washington Post. In 1992, he was a visiting scholar at the University of California, Berkeley, working under Nelson Polsby at the Institute of Governmental Studies. In 1996, he was a visiting fellow at the Robert Schuman Centre at the European University Institute in Florence.

In 2009, Barber was awarded the St George Society medal of honour for his contribution to journalism in the transatlantic community. In February 2011, he was appointed to the Board of Trustees at The Tate. He also serves on the Board of Trustees of the Carnegie Corporation of New York.[11]

In 2016, he was made a Chevalier (knight) in the French Ordre National de la Légion d’Honneur for his "contribution to high-quality journalism, and the Financial Times' positive role in the European debate".[12]

Personal life

Barber has a daughter and a son, born in Washington, D.C. in 1988 and 1990.[13] He lives with them, and his wife Victoria, in London.[3]

He is fluent in French and German.[3]


  • Ralph Lawrenson, John; Barber, Lionel (1985). The Price of Truth: The Story of the Reuters £££ Millions. Mainstream Publishing. ISBN 9780722154878.
  • Barber, Lionel (1998). Britain and the New European Agenda. Centre for European Reform. ISBN 9781901229073.
  • Barber, Lionel (2019). Lunch with the FT: A Second Helping. Penguin Books. ISBN 9780241400715.


  1. Who's Who
  2. Who's Who
  3. Morris, Sophie (7 January 2008). "Lionel Barber: My Life in Media". The Independent. Retrieved 14 November 2019.
  4. "Lionel Barber" (PDF). Financial Times. Archived from the original (PDF) on March 20, 2009.
  5. "New editor at the FINANCIAL TIMES" (PDF). Press Business (1). February 2006. Archived from the original (PDF) on 14 October 2013. Retrieved 7 October 2013.
  6. "Lionel Barber | Speaking Fee & Booking Agent - Chartwell". Expert Keynote and Motivational Speakers | Chartwell Speakers. Retrieved 14 November 2019.
  7. Mayhew, Freddy (16 October 2018). "'Time for a revolution' says FT editor Lionel Barber as he publishes letter criticising 'lack of diversity' among paper's columnists". Press Gazette. Retrieved 14 November 2019.
  8. Alex Barker (12 November 2019). "Lionel Barber to step down as Financial Times editor". Financial Times.
  9. Rushton, Katherine (24 July 2012). "FT editor Lionel Barber 'threatened' sacked staff member, court hears". The Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 14 November 2019.
  10. "Lionel Barber – Speakers for Schools". Retrieved 14 November 2019.
  12. Sweney, Mark (8 August 2016). "FT editor to be honoured by France for 'positive role' in EU debate". The Guardian. Retrieved 9 August 2016.
  13. A’Lee Frost, Amber (22 July 2019). "Lionel Barber on his tenure as Financial Times editor, why his paper appeals to millennials, and the correct journalistic response to Trump and Brexit". Columbia Journalism Review. Retrieved 14 November 2019.
Media offices
Preceded by
Andrew Gowers
Editor of the Financial Times
Succeeded by
Roula Khalaf
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