The Australian Associated Press announced today that Lisa Davies, the former editor of the Sydney Morning Herald, has been appointed AAP's new CEO with effect 14 February. She will take over from Emma Cowdroy, who is stepping back due to family commitments but will remain with AAP in a senior executive role, according to the announcement.
For Davies, it's a return to where she began: she first started her career at AAP in 2001, spending three years there before moving to the Daily Telegraph, where she was chief court reporter for the next seven years. She joined the Herald in 2012 and was appointed editor in February 2017, where she quickly made a name for having increased the Herald's audience through a rocky period both for the masthead and nationwide - from the merger of Nine, the Herald's owner, with Fairfax Media, to the Black Summer of 2019-2020, and now the coronavirus pandemic.
Last October, she stepped down as the Herald's editor among a general reshuffle of leadership at Nine publications. At the time of her departure, Nine’s managing director of publishing, James Chessell, praised her contributions to high-quality journalism and a culture of stability in the Herald's newsroom. “It is easy to forget that Lisa took over the editorship of the Herald during one of the crises that used to befall the newsroom every couple of years," he said. “That the Herald has enjoyed an uninterrupted period of journalistic success and editorial growth since then is due in large part to Lisa’s leadership, passion and vision."
AAP chairman John McKinnon described Davies' appointment as a major achievement for the news agency, saying: “To have been able to attract an executive with the calibre of Lisa is a credit to what AAP and its people have been able to achieve over the last two years."
"News media is a vital component of any democracy. But the size of Australia makes it near impossible for any one news outlet to service all communities and regions, which is why having a sustainable and independent newswire is critical to democracy in Australia. We look forward to working with Lisa and the team to continue to cement AAP’s contribution to an open and democratic society.”