Our History

From its beginnings in 1843, when The Economist newspaper was founded by a Scottish hat manufacturer to further the cause of free trade, The Economist Group has evolved into a global media company that develops intelligent brands for the intellectually curious. Below is a timeline charting the history of The Economist Group.


  • Zanny Minton Beddoes becomes the 17th editor of The Economist.
  • The Economist Intelligence Unit acquires Canback & Company, a consumer-demand predictive analytics consulting firm.
  • The Group announces that it will buy-back 5.04 ordinary shares from Pearson plc, and Exor will acquire all of Pearson's B shares and its remaining ordinary shares (6.3m). Exor will become the Group's largest shareholder after the completion of the transaction with a 43.4% share.


  • John Micklethwait resigns as editor of The Economist after 27 years with the newspaper—including nine as editor-in- chief.


  • Chris Stibbs, previously chief finance officer and managing director of the Economist Intelligence Unit, becomes Group chief executive on July 18th, succeeding Andrew Rashbass.


  • The Economist Group expands The Economist Intelligence Unit with the acquisition of two healthcare information companies: Clearstate, a Singapore-based business focused on Asia, and a London-based organisation, Bazian.
  • The Group acquires TVC, a digital media and public relations company based in London. The acquisition fits in with the Group's long-term commercial strategy of building a broad range of services for its growing client base.


  • Adding to its Washington portfolio under the CQ Roll Call brand, the Group acquires Illumen, a leader in innovative solutions for organisations seeking to engage their constituents
  • The Economist expands its range of digital editions, launching new applications for Android smartphones, Barnes & Noble’s Nook and Amazon’s Fire device. By November 2011, The Economist is read on more than 1m digital devices each month.
  • The Economist Education, an online education programme designed to help business managers thrive in a global economy, is launched
  • From August The Economist’s lifestyle magazine, Intelligent Life, moves from quarterly to bi-monthly publication
  • Digital editions of The Economist are available on the Kindle, iPhone and iPad
  • The Group opens an office in Johannesburg to support its growing activities in the sub-Saharan region of Africa
  • The Group agrees to sell CFO Publishing to private equity firm Seguin Partners, LLC, in partnership with CFO’s management. The Group retains a minority stake in the new company
  • The Group launches the Ideas People Channel to connect advertisers with an intellectually curious audience
  • The Group agrees to acquire Congressional Quarterly from the Times Publishing Company. CQ will merge with Roll Group to form the new CQ-Roll Call Group
  • The Economist Group acquires Washington, DC-based Capitol Advantage, a publisher of online and offline congressional products. Capitol Advantage is added to the Roll Call Group portfolio
  • The Group opens a commercial office in Mumbai, adding to the editorial office in Delhi, to build on its presence in India
  • The Economist’s circulation rises to 1.3m. 2.6m unique users visit Economist.com each month
  • The Economist is named Campaign magazine’s “Medium of the Year”
  • EuroFinance Conferences is acquired to complement the activities of CFO


  • The Economist passes the one million circulation mark in the ABC (Audit Bureau of Circulations) July-December period, averaging 1,009,759 per week
  • Intelligent Life now “1843” launches as an annual appealing to a similar audience to The Economist’s, but dealing with trends impacting their private lives
  • CFO China launches as the Group’s first Chinese-language magazine
  • A redesigned Economist is launched, taking the paper into full colour for the first time
  • Roll Call overtakes the Washington Post to become the best-read publication within the US Congress
  • The Journal of Commerce is sold to Commonwealth Business Media, Inc; Pyramid Research, PNE and Redhouse Press are also sold to enable the Group to focus on its core strengths. BCE is closed. CFO.com is launched

1991 – 1999

  • The Economist Intelligence Unit acquires Pyramid Research, a supplier of telecommunications research
  • CFO Europe and CFO Asia are launched as sister publications to CFO magazine
  • The Economist is published in 11 regional advertising editions. Circulation exceeds 600,000, covering more than 180 countries
  • Economist.com is launched
  • The Group acquires the Journal of Commerce, a major information provider for shipping and transportation industries in the US
  • The Economist Group launches European Voice, the only weekly newspaper with an independent view of the European Union
  • The Group sets up a printing company, Redhouse Press
  • Americas section, Technology Quarterly, an Obituary page, Charlemagne and emerging market indicators are created
  • 80% of the newspaper’s circulation is now made up of foreign sales
  • The Economist celebrates its 150th anniversary with a number of special activities and a donation of £246,000 to the British Council to promote English as a second language overseas
  • Business Central Europe (BCE) is launched as a monthly magazine covering the business markets in Central and Eastern Europe. It was edited from Vienna
  • The Group acquires an interest in Roll Call, the leading publication in Congressional news and analysis that was founded in Washington, DC in 1955. The remaining equity was acquired in 1993
  • The Group acquires Public Network Europe (PNE), a monthly magazine for European managers in public telecommunications network companies

1986 – 1988

  • The World in… series is launched, offering forecasts of the year ahead written by Economist journalists and prominent figures from the spheres of politics, business and the arts
  • The Group acquires CFO, a controlled-circulation business magazine for senior financial executives
  • The Group acquires Business International, which merged with Economist Intelligence Unit in 1987

1974- 1978

  • The Economist embarks on a major drive in the US, creating a huge circulation and advertising breakthrough
  • Andrew Knight becomes editor of The Economist. He was responsible for introducing science and technology pages

1956 – 1967

  • The launch of a fortnightly edition of The Economist in Spanish is announced. Aimed at the Latin American market, it closed early in 1970
  • Completion of the Economist Complex in London’s St James’s, commissioned in 1959. The newspaper’s landmark headquarters were designed by Modernistarchitects Peter and Alison Smithson
  • Economist Conferences, a division of Economist Intelligence Unit, is formed and launches government roundtables
  • The Economist’s circulation reaches 55,175

1934 – 1946

  • The Economist Intelligence Unit is founded to serve the newspaper and provide business intelligence to outside companies
  • The Economist undertakes its first major redesign. The cover of The Economist is dramatically modernised.

1922 – 1928

  • The Economist is sold by the Wilson Trust to Financial Newspaper Proprietors Limited and “an influential group of individual shareholders”. The division of ownership was designed to ensure the maintenance of its editorial independence.
  • WT Layton is appointed editor. His editorship was of profound importance to the newspaper, and he was probably the person to whom it owes most thanks for its survival and continued independence.


  • The Economist incorporated the Bankers' Gazette and Railway Monitor, it also described itself as "a political, literary and general newspaper


  • The Economist: A Political, Commercial, Agricultural, & Free-Trade Journal is founded by James Wilson.

    Average weekly circulation reaches 1,969.
The Economist May 16 1846" by Staff of "The Economists

The Economist May 16 1846″ by Staff of “The Economists

For questions regarding career opportunities with The Economist, please email us at careers@economist.com