Adel Al Toraifi will replace Tariq Alhomayed at the helm of Asharq al-Awsat newspaper effective January 1, 2013, local media reported today.
Alhomayed, who has been editor-in-chief of the paper for the past eight years, told Sabq he has informed management few months ago that he wants to step down in order to spend more time with his family. He said he will continue to write a daily column for the newspaper.
For observers of Saudi media, the management decision to appoint Al Toraifi as Alhomayed’s successor to lead the Saudi-owned, London-based daily is not surprising. Al Toraifi started his career as a columnist in local media before moving to the UK to study at the London School of Economics where he is reportedly still working towards a PhD degree.
The cigar-loving Al Toraifi was appointed editor-in-chief of Al Majalla magazine in 2009. The newsweekly was struggling like many of its counterparts. It has stopped printing and become an online publication, adding new sections in English and Farsi. In July 2012 he was appointed deputy editor-in-chief of Asharq al-Awsat, a move which indicated that Al Toraifi is being groomed to be the next editor of the newspaper which is usually seen as reflective of the Saudi state foreign policy.
Both Al Majalla and Asharq al-Awsat are published by the Saudi Research and Marketing Group (SRMG), which is owned by members of the Saudi royal family. Prince Faisal bin Salman, Chairman of SRMG, is son of Crown Prince Salman. Established in 1972, the group publishes 15 daily, weekly and monthly newspapers and magazines.